If This Were Easy…


Food diary for the win…

Filed under: tools — Easy @ 10:04 pm

I was trying to figure out whether I have a chiro appointment tomorrow morning and my food diary came in handy.

I have an appointment every 2 weeks, and normally I can just think back to the previous week and remember whether I went or not, but this week, my brain was choosing not to cough up that bit of information.

So instead, I looked up the food I ate for breakfast on the last 2 Thursdays. Last week, pita and asiago dip. The week before that, a Booster Juice Tropical Banana Breeze Smoothy.

Booster Juice is across the street from the chiropractor.

I’ll have to get her to take a look at my stiff shoulder while I’m in the office tomorrow.



…I would make the trains run on time

Filed under: metapost, tools — Easy @ 9:00 am

I’m still getting most of my ticky marks every day and that’s good. But I’m earning them later and later every day, and that’s not so good.

At the very least, it means that the glass of water I chug down at the end of the night just to get my third glass of water in is becoming the glass of water I have to pee at 3AM, and that’s getting pretty fucking annoying. (And cold! It gets cold in here at night.)

Plus, I’m jamming an ever-increasing amount of stuff into the last 47 minutes before I go to bed, and that’s not setting me up for sleeping well.

I think I still deserve a ticky box for getting things done every day, but I’m going to set up a separate goal for tracking the ones I actually manage to complete by the time I have them scheduled for on my to-do list.

I’m still fussing a bit about what, precisely, I’ll do about weekends which don’t quite fit the schedule. I know there’ll be a scheduling exception for the same ‘an hour after I get home’ that goes into the ‘bed before midnight’ ticky, as well.



Filed under: tools — Easy @ 10:10 am

I added a ticker and stickied it to the top of the site. I’d rather have it in the sidebar, but I’m not sure I can make it fit. I’ll play with it a bit and see.

I moved it to the sidebar. It doesn’t exactly fit — but it just sort of hangs out over the right edge in a moderately non-annoying sort of way, so I’m going to go with that for now. I’m on the lookout though, for something that will present a graph of my weight in a nice, side-bar appropriate sort of way. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to be able to insert script, so I need something that generates a remote image that I link to.

I’m using CCP for the ticker, since the tickers from DailyPlate don’t work on WordPress.


Calorie Tracker Smackdown Cont’d

Filed under: metapost, tools — Easy @ 9:42 am

The larger comparison chart still exists, but I thought I’d do a quicker rundown of the pluses and minuses of each of the remaining candidates to help me decide which one I want to keep going with.

CalorieCountPlus DailyPlate Gyminee
Absolute Best Thing Recipe Analyzer! Food Database, which is easily the most comprehensive of those I’ve tried. Quick Add!
Other Good Things Letter grades on your daily diet (they’ve proved kind of useful after all). Not quite as nice as gyminee’s category arrows, but still useful.Cleanest, least scrolling search results page.

Cleanest display in general, especially for the basic food log.

Frequently used items and saved meals and workouts.% of daily values for fat, carbs, protein, and calories. Not as nice as gyminee, but still nice. Nice search options.Easy to refine search with the serach box pre-filled and at the top of your results.

The summary of whether you’ve met your goals on fat, carbs, protein and calories.

Nice widget

Absolute Worst Thing Profile page, which is either useless, or I can’t figure it out, one of the two. Totally useless recipe analyzer. Public profile page is pretty much useless.
Other Bad Things Inability to edit foods in the database, or simply say ‘I ate two of these’ for user entered foods.

Multiple clicks to add foods.

Tagging vs. automated frequently used list.

Multiple clicks to add foods.Doesn’t save search term so you can clarify without retyping.

Widgets cost $$$.

Moderately challenging recipe analyzer.Least items in database.

I believe I’m going to continue with the Daily Plate at this point. I like the usability of Gyminee, but the public profile is lame and the food database is also lame. CalorieCountPlus has its good points, too, but its key winner, the recipe analyzer, is something I can continue to use even if I use DailyPlate to track stuff. I’ll dump the recipe into CCP, and then copy the nutritional data over to the Daily Plate as a ‘user-entered food’ rather than a recipe (because DailyPlate’s recipe function is completely unfunctional, as far as I’m concerned.).

There’s one other site I’ve come across, “My Food Diary”, but I don’t think it offers public profiles at all, and it requires a credit card to even try the site. I might take a look at it and then cancel, just to complete my comparison chart, but I don’t think I’m willing to pay over $100 a year to track my calories, especially if it has no public profile. I’m going to go back to SparkPeople and FitDay to try and complete some of the comparison chart entries on them, as well.


Calorie Tracker Comparison

Filed under: diet, metapost, tools — Easy @ 1:03 pm

I’m doing a kind of running tally comparison chart as I use the three different calorie trackers this week.


Calorie Tracking

Filed under: metapost, tools — Easy @ 11:52 am

Way back when, I asked about Calorie Tracking sites and then promptly did nothing about it. This week, I’m going to test out three of the options, by tracking my food intake and exercise if applicable in all of them, and see which one is least annoying. I’m not, at this point, attempting to limit my food intake, just track it.

The candidates are:

If you’re looking at these public profiles, do try not to pay too much attention to the fact that I had lemon cake for breakfast, kay?

First glaringly noticable difference amongst the three? FitDay calculates my Curves workout as 378 calories burned. CalorieCountPlus counts it as 628 calories burned. Daily Plate calculates it as 834 calories burned. That’s an astonishingly high set of differences.



Filed under: life, snooze, tools — Easy @ 2:36 pm

Still pointless and annoying, but now that I’ve figured out how to work the software, absolutely fascinating at the same time.

I’m not sure staring at little slidey bars that say when I woke up in the night is worth $200, though. Especially not as the watch only stores a single day of data, so you have to upload it every flipping day.


Not snoozing and not not snoozing

Filed under: life, progress, snooze, tools — Easy @ 10:32 am

Here’s an interesting thing.

At 7:45 this morning, I was wide awake and thinking ‘Man, it’s really bright in here, and I’m very awake. Did my alarm not go off?’ And then I looked at my clock and was surprising to discover that it was 7:45. I was convinced that it was at least 10am.

I gave serious thought to just getting up at that point, but thought, eh, I’ll just lay here for 15 minutes and let my shoulder (which is still sore, btw) rest in the one position that makes it happy these days.

15 minutes later when my actual alarm went off, it was a mad struggle to not immediately hit the snooze button and go back to sleep. I had to slowly force my eyes open with my hair hanging in my face to keep it from being too painfully bright, and I had to seriously will myself to listen to the inanity that is Gender Defender on the radio so I wouldn’t go back to sleep. It was hard.

And yet, not 15 minutes before, I’d been bright shiny awake.

It makes me wonder about these Sleeptracker watches and whether they’d work. Obviously at some point this morning I was pretty okay with the idea of getting up, but just a few minutes later, I was decidedly not okay with the idea of getting up.

That could be just the snooze alarm conditioning — waking up and looking at the clock and then going back to sleep for just a few minutes might have sent me into my snooze pattern of never wanting to get up. But maybe there’s something to the sleep cycle thing, and 15 minutes earlier was the right time for my body to wake up, while 15 minutes later, I was firmly back in zzz zzz zzzz territory.

Has anyone tried the sleeptracker watch at all? Does it work?


Ticky box!

Filed under: ear swabbing, metapost, snooze, tools — Easy @ 12:09 pm

I had two ‘negative’ goals on Joe’s Goals — snoozing and swabbing my ears.

In theory, positive goals are things you’re trying to do, like going to the gym, while negative goals are things you’re trying not to do, like hit the snooze button. In practice, though, it’s must more satisfying to not let yourself hit the snooze button and then give yourself a nice little happy face in your ticky box than it is to just leave a box blank.

So I flipped those goals around (and probably messed up changing all the old entries around, but oh, well) to make them positive goals so I could give myself ticky marks for achieving them instead of not giving myself ticky marks for achieving them. It’s just more logical that way.


Calorie and Nutrition Tracking

Filed under: metapost, tools — Easy @ 9:00 am

I want to find a Calorie and Nutrition tracking site that I can use on a daily basis, and which allows me to share that information publicly.

Ideally, I could create a badge, a la my Joe’s Goals badge and share it directly on this page, but something I have to link to, a la rememberthemilk.com would also be fine.

I’d prefer that it were free, but I could live with paying a small amount (less than $50 a year) to use it.

I’d like it to be pretty simply to use and have lots of built in products that aren’t necessarily the American ones, or that lets me save my own products for later.

Also includes fitness / exercise and weight tracking.

Isn’t tied into a specific diet plan — unless that specific diet plan is WeightWatchers.

Here are a few I’m considering:

The Daily Plate — badges require $45 a year membership fee, which is approaching the steep end of what I’d be willing to pay. The database seems pretty complete though. The actual user pages on the site are damned annoying looking. Not sure if it includes weight tracking.

Gyminee — doesn’t appear to offer badges. Might be more fitness than diet focused — though I’ll eventually want fitness tools, too.

Fitday — can’t see what the ‘public’ journals look like without joining, nor whether they offer any kind of badging. Does appear to be completely free.

SparkPeople — the public personal pages are mostly very MySpace fugly, and there doesn’t appear to be ways to share your individual day’s food intakes and such. Plus, when I signed up with them before, they send me a ridiculous amount of email, even after I tried to make it stop.

Does anyone have any experience with any of these specifically or suggestions for other sites that might be worth checking out?


…I would have a gold star

Filed under: metapost, tools — Easy @ 1:12 pm

I’ve switched over to Joe’s Goals for tracking daily success — it seems like a pretty good system. It lets you input separate goals and give yourself check marks for completing them. I’d probably rather have gold stars, but you takes what you can gets.

Links are over there on the right. I have no idea what that graphy thing is supposed to demonstrate.


And another tool note

Filed under: metapost, tools — Easy @ 11:35 am

I just discovered that WordPress tags don’t work in the way I would have expected, or wanted. Clicking on a tag doesn’t, as I would have expected, present you with a page of the entries from this blog that I’ve tagged with that word. Rather, it presents you with a page of all WordPress posts that have been tagged with that word.

I’m sure that has some vague value for someone, but not me. So I’ve gone through and changed all my tags to sub-categories instead.

Have I mentioned that I’m procrastinating from updating a tedious spreadsheet?

Tools Issues

Filed under: metapost, tools — Easy @ 10:47 am

The tool that puts my Remember The Milk reminders on my Gmail page is currently borked, which is annoying.

On the other hand, there was this thread recently on MetaFilter, which offers up some other solutions, Joe’s Goals and Don’t Break the Chain that might be more appropriate anyway. I’m going to check them out on the weekend and see if they’re better for what I’m doing. Don’t Break the Chain sounds particularly interesting, since the Don’t Break the Chain thing is part of my basic repertoire of tricks for this whole process.

If anyone has any other suggestions, let me know.


…I wouldn’t be here

Filed under: metapost, tools — Easy @ 9:00 am

And neither would you.

But you are here, and that’s great. So what can you expect to find?

As I go through the weeks of adding different things to my routine, I’ll post some overall reasons why I want to improve my life, some specific reasons for some of the specific things, thoughts and comments about how well I’m doing, you know, standard blog stuff.

In my Remember The Milk To Do List, I’ll have the schedules for the different activities, which I’ll mark off as they’re completed, and in my Google calendar, I’ll provide quickly daily status updates on whether I did all, some or none of the things I was supposed to do that day. Those probably won’t be that interesting to you on a daily basis, but they’re the tools I feel like I need to keep track — and if you check them occasionally and kick my ass when I go tragically wrong, that’d help.


…I would have started already

Filed under: metapost, tools — Easy @ 1:00 pm

Rather than immediately jumping in and starting with my improvement plan, I’m spending this week doing administrivia type things — setting up this blog, auditioning to-do lists for keeping track of my tasks, and generally procrastinating.

That’s probably not the most productive use of my time, but let’s face it, I was going to do all those things anyway. Better, I think, to admit it that I’m going to procrastinate and do endless random crap with a deadline to get it out of the way so I can actually start at some point.

I learned from a professional organizer that worked on my house that I like my life painstakingly compartmentalized and that I won’t bother doing things that are ‘easier’. With that in mind, I’ve set up a ‘To-Do’ list at rememberthemilk.com. It will integrate with gmail, which I stare at all day anyway, and remind me when I’m supposed to be doing the things I’m supposed to be doing, and can be set up with recurring reminders.

I’ve also decided on my first personal improvement for next week: to drink three glasses of water a day. I’ve set up tasks to remind myself to drink water throughout the day, as well as a reminder that if I’m going to start drinking all that yummy water, I really ought to change the filter in my water cooler before next week starts.

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