“What is Your Favourite Accessory Right Now?”

My favourite accessory at the moment is my Apple Watch.  I ordered it when it was first released and, although it isn’t perfect, I really like it.  I’ve used other smart watches and compared to them, this works a lot smoother and has a lot more features.

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There are a few reasons why I really like it (especially compared to the other ones I’ve used).

  • The Size.  The Apple Watch comes in two sizes (basically, his and hers).  I got the smaller one, so it doesn’t look giant and oversized on my wrist.  While the extra screen space would have been nice, I still find the screen usable and, for the most part, accurate.  It is still slightly bigger than your normal wristwatch (though I think that’s probably moreso because of the square shape instead of round) but it’s not anything that would give you strange looks on the street.  The same can’t be said for the previous watches I’ve used.
  • The Fitness Trackers.  This is the main reason why I wear my watch each day without fail.  The watch tracks heart rate, step count, distance walked, how many hours you’ve been standing and calories burnt.  For the most part I’ve found it accurate, aside from a bug I’ve got right now where it isn’t reflecting how long I’ve exercised for properly (though it’s tracking it properly as third-party apps that use the watch reflect it correctly.  Very weird).  I’ve always found the step count accurate, and I think the heart rate is too, although I have no way of knowing for sure.  The thing I really like about the heart rate monitor especially is that it automatically checks every ten minutes or so, and saves it into the “Heath” app, which is great if you have medical conditions (or find out about one later on).  While not 100% accurate, I’m sure it would help doctors to see that kind of stuff.
  • The Alerts.  The main reason anyone considers a smart watch over something like a Fitbit is the alerts that you can get through your phone to the watch.  This was always the downfall of other smartwatches.  It would alert you to basics and that’s it.  The Apple Watch can alert you of anything you want basically (provided the app itself supports WatchOS, and most do these days).  You can turn off what you don’t want, so you don’t get bombarded with stupid notifications you don’t need.  You can read and reply to text messages with either auto replies (that you can change via your phone) or through siri.  You can answer calls.  Yes, you speak into the watch (though I’ve found the speaker isn’t very powerful and can sometimes make hearing the other person difficult).  You can get email notifications.  You can turn off your alarm – no more racing halfway across the house because you woke up before your alarm and left your phone in your room!  I’ve never had any issues with notifications.  To use Apple’s favourite catchline – “it just works”.
  • Bluetooth Connectivity.  I’ve found this especially useful of late after starting a new job and not wanting to have my phone with me.  It has quite a good range, which means I can be several metres away from my phone without it disconnecting, even if the phone is in a different room.  I’m not sure of the exact distance, but I think it might stretch as far as 10 metres, which is pretty good!  It’s also great if your phone is going flat and you need to charge it in a different room but don’t want to miss anything or constantly have to get up and check.

These are my ultimate favourite things, but there are smaller things I love too.  It took me awhile to adjust to the interface, but once you get it down pat it’s fairly straightforward.  I have the Sport model, and the band is comfortable, although a little fiddly to get on in the morning through bleary eyes.  Once it’s on though, it stays in place and I’ve never had it undo.  I originally wanted the green band but wound up getting the white one to match more outfits.  It’s got a few little marks on it, but overall has stayed fairly clean given I’ve worn it every day.  There are about 8 different watch face layout options, which are then customisable.  Since the reason of version 2 of the software, you can chose your own background picture if you want, or you can use one of the preset ones.  There are both analogue and digital faces, and you can also add things like current temperature, moon cycle, sunrise and sunset, different timezones and how you’re tracking with your fitness goals for the day on the watchface if you don’t mind the clutter.  Overall, I’d recommend it if you’re thinking of spending some cash on a new watch or on something like a Fitbit.  It does set you back a little more, but it also gives you a lot more features.  I don’t know that I’d recommend spending big bucks on a more expensive model…I know they look a bit nicer but it is technology and technology isn’t timeless.  This is why I wound up getting the cheaper one.  It does the same job but means I won’t feel obliged to keep using it after it’s well and truly outdated.

And no, I’m not sponsored by Apple.  I wish I was.  I’d have a more blingy watch than a Sports edition!

This prompt, and may more, can be found here.

Time to Change – Day Seven

Well, it’s officially been a whole week.  I’ve surprised myself with how disciplined I’ve been.  That’s always been an issue of mine – I have no self control.  That’s not just with food either, I also burn through money given half the chance.  The amount of stuff (aka crap) I’ve bought off CatchOfTheDay over the past three years is unbelievable.  I’ve also never been very self-motivated away from work.  At work I could motivate myself to do almost anything (even waking up at 5.30am to go in and do stocktake once a month), but the second I got home, all that went out the window.  I had no motivation to cook a proper meal (hence the take away I’d get on a very regular basis) and no motivation (or energy) to exercise.  I will admit, when I eventually land another job, I’m worried I’ll fall into the same trap, but I’ll cross that bridge when it comes.  For right now, I’m sticking with this lifestyle change.

I guess the best moment I’ve had this week is checking how I tracked overall in MyFitnessPal and seeing this.


Look at that! Almost bang on target!  My calorie intake never strayed more than a couple of hundred over either, and for the most part also stayed right on the app’s recommendation.  I’m so proud of this in particular because previously when I’ve counted calories, it was always next to no protein and hugely over in carbs.  I’ve really made an effort to plan my meals and make sure I’m eating the right kinds of food and the right portions.  Like a lot of people, I really struggle with potion control, and even now I’m still adjusting to it but I think it’s getting better.

I’ve also made it a goal to get at least 30 minutes of exercise in a day.  For the most part I’ve been hitting 40 minutes, with the exception of two days where I only managed 20, but they were harder workouts.  I’ve found my Apple watch incredibly helpful with all this, as the fitness tracker in it works beautifully.  It monitors step count, calories burnt, time exercised, heart rate and distance.  I’m averaging over 3kms each day in exercise, which I know isn’t record breaking, but considering just a week ago I was lucky to make 1000 steps each day, it’s definitely an improvement.

Unfortunately the scales still aren’t being too friendly, and I’ve only lost about half a kilo, which is still better than nothing but given my weight has always fluctuated by 2 or 3kgs isn’t great.  I’m not going to let that bring me down though.  Even if the weigh only comes off slowly, it’s better than not coming off at all, and I know I’m going to feel better for the diet change and exercise anyway.

Bring on week two!

-JD

Time to Change – Day Five

Today was an okay day.  Not fantastic but I feel better than I did yesterday and the day before.  I have kept up on my healthy eating.  I know I’m not even a week into it, but for me to have lasted this long and only having one small hit of actual sugary goodness is pretty impressive.  Part of the reason (a large part, probably) that my previous attempts at dieting failed was because I’d reward myself with food.  It’d tell myself “hey, you ate well yesterday, it’s only one bad meal, it’s fine”…and I’d be right if for the whole rest of the week I kept eating healthy.  But no, the next day would come and I’d go out to lunch with a friend and say “well, I’m out to lunch, may as well enjoy it” and again, I would eat unhealthy.  The worst part was, I didn’t even think twice about it.  Oh sure, there was that annoying little voice in the back of my head squealing “you’re supposed to be dieting!” but over the years I’ve become accustomed to tuning it out.

Tying into that, I also used MyFitnessPal…wrong.  I’d track my meals and exercise (what little of that there was).  The thing with that app though, is that if you don’t eat all day then binge on Maccas for dinner, you can still stay under your calorie limit.  Obviously, that’s not what the app is aiming for and yeah, you don’t meet your protein needs by doing that, but it’s easy to tell yourself “the app says it’s fine!”.  I have also used Noom to track meals, and overall I believe it is a better app as it breaks foods down into “red, yellow and green” and tells you how much you can eat of each.  This actually taught me a lot about nutrition that MFP never could.  My main issue with that app (keeping in mind it may have had updates since I last used it) was that it didn’t link up to fitness trackers such as my Jawbone wristband, which I was using last time I tried dieting.  This was a major drawback as it was a real pain trying to correlate your step count with your diet manually.  This is why I’ve gone back to MFP – I have an Apple watch and it links up beautifully, taking into account my steps and working out an overall picture of how my day has gone.  This time around, though, I’m being careful not to cheat.  Just because the app allows for it, doesn’t mean it’s right!

Anyway, I digress.  What was I talking about again?  Oh right, rewarding myself with food treats.  This time around, that ain’t happening.  I’m not having “cheat meals”, which seem to be all the rage and part of every diet plan these days.  I’m not saying I’ll never eat unhealthy, because that’s ridiculous, but I’m making a rule that the only time I’m going to eat unhealthy is when I’m eating out.  Given I’m unemployed and my social life is hardly what anyone would consider raging at the best of times, I think this will work out okay.

I’m still feeling hungry most of the day but it’s considerably less so than yesterday. It’s there but it’s not in the forefront of my mind continuously like it was.  I’m also trying to snack more instead of having big meals, which is probably helping a little.  The cravings are still there, but it’s mostly when it’s bought to my attention – through ads on the TV (“what I wouldn’t give to have those Maccas chips in my hand right now”) and emails (“Oh, Dominos have a promotion, I’ll just have a quick look!”).  I never realized just how successful advertising was.  I mean, I knew it had some success over both me and the general public (otherwise they wouldn’t waste big bucks doing it), but I didn’t fully comprehend to what extend.  It really only takes an image of some of my favourite foods for my mind to jump from the healthy eating train to the junk food wagon.  Luckily, I haven’t let myself give in.  I can eat a pizza now and fall off the diet and stay fat forever, or I can push it out of my mind, snack on something healthy and stay on this journey.  I know which option I’ll be thanking myself later for, and it ain’t pizza.

I’ve been keeping up with exercising, taking the dog for a long walk each day.  Surprisingly, I’m already finding the walks easier each time.  I knew eventually they’d make me fitter, I just didn’t think I’d feel the change so quickly.  Each day I’m doing the track faster, and feeling less horrible at the end.  Another sign that everything I’m doing is working!

-JD