192.8 Pounds; Readying for a Public Diet

This morning I weighed 192.8 pounds on my new scale.  More about the scale below.  I haven’t gained much over the past few weeks, which is good, considering I just spent a week in Beijing for what I hope is really, finally, my last trip.

Instead of maintaining weight, I’d like to be losing weight.  Starting this Thursday, I’m going to begin to force myself to do just that by going completely public.  I’ll be the most recent in a reasonably long line of people to do this, but, I figure, why not.  Come back here on Thursday to learn more.

Onto my new scale.

Last week, I took the plunge, and I purchased the Withings scale that I wrote about here on September 28. I’ll give Withings credit.  The scale was very easy to connect to my home wireless network.  I also downloaded the Withings applications for my iPhone and my iPad.  Now, when I step on the scale, my weight, lean mass and fat mass are instantly transported to the web and the two Apple devices for tracking.  The wow factor is huge.

To see what the graph looks like, click here.  I’d like to embed the graph on my blog, but, unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t yet support iframe embeds.

The Withings scale also allows for easy automatic tweeting of your weight and posting on Facebook.  I haven’t tweeted yet, but that’s in the plans.  Ian Ayres, the author of Carrots and Sticks does tweet his weight every day, so you can see what that looks like here – @ianweight.  I have installed the application on my Facebook page, but it doesn’t do much for me.  It isn’t just a simple posting, but is more like a game and a graph.  Honestly, it doesn’t really work well.  If it did, the concept (around Guessing Someone’s Weight) is actually pretty cool.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to work.

That’s it for now.  192.8.  Just the start.  Time to go public.

Diet Week 8: +1 lb. Is a Wifi Scale the Way to Go?

Week eight saw me continue my battling a very seesaw diet.  I gained a pound to 192.4 and am down 5 pounds in eight weeks.  (Six pounds in seven weeks sounded a lot better!)  The momentum I had hoped for last week didn’t materialize.

I know from my eating decisions, that, after two months, I’m not yet in the zone.  That’s disappointing.  I’m just not making the best decisions.  I went for a Caesar salad with chicken at lunch yesterday, when I could have had a much lower-calorie salad from the salad bar.  On the other hand, I continue to be happy with my exercise regimen.  I started off slowly eight weeks ago and am progressing nicely, ramping up my speed on the treadmill and completing longer runs on Sundays.

I wrote a few weeks back about Brian Stelter and his use of tweeting as part of his diet process.  Proclaiming in public that you are going to lose weight and giving people a window into that process is a very interesting motivator.  It doesn’t work for everyone, but works for Brian and, I think, works for me.  The key is to open up a two-way dialog, where one person is sharing and others are supporting.  Multi-way dialogs are even better, where multiple people are trying to lose weight and helping each other.  This is the notion behind every diet site having a community aspect and behind the old-school weekly meetings at Weight Watchers.

The Wi-Fi Connected Withings Bathroom Scale

In Sunday’s New York Times, an article discusses the benefits of the Withings bathroom scale, which is Wifi-enabled, and pushes your weight to your computer, your iPhone app and, if desired, directly to Twitter.  This scale is not new. Googling uncovers articles from as far back as August, 2009.  There are 129 reviews on Amazon for the product, 90 of which are 5-star.  The product sells there for $145 plus shipping.

I’ve got a colleague who just bought one, but I don’t know yet if he set it up. $145 for a bathroom scale is not cheap. Wifi connectivity seems par for the course in 2010.  The auto-tracking to a smart phone is also logical and will no doubt expand to other scale brands at some point.  The connectivity to Twitter, Facebook and a range of other sites is the most intriguing aspect of all.

We know that off-line social impact weight gain, as per this 2007 study.  Brian Stelter has shown that using Twitter can make a difference with weight loss.  The automation of the Withings scale is just the next step.  Brian has to think about sending the Twitter each day.  The Withings scale requires only one decision – to turn on the sharing aspect of the software.  Then, off you go.  It makes sense to me.

Welcome Home, Kids. See You Later.

Last Friday, my two kids came back from four weeks at sleep-away camp.  We picked them up around lunch time, went out for a quick bite at Moe’s, and then headed home.  It was probably around 2:00pm when we got back to the house.

By 2:30pm, the house was back to its pre-camp rhythms.  Both kids were on Facebook.  My son was simultaneously configuring iTunes to sync up his iPhone for the first time in a month.  Text messages were flying back and forth between them and their friends, and plans were being made for that evening.  Indeed, despite just a few hours sleep the night before, my son went out with his friends to see The Other Guys that night.

In reality, as other parents know, the Facebook and the texting started long before they got home.  My son received his iPhone back as the bus left camp to return to St. Louis and had been on Facebook ever since.  My daughter got her phone back at the bus, courtesy of my wife.  There had been little conversation with the kids during the ride from Moe’s to home, as their heads were buried in their phones.

Common Scene at Our House. But That's O.K.

(The only thing that seemed odd to me is that they were texting and communicating on Facebook with the very kids they were with the previous four weeks.  There are some things I won’t understand as a parent.)

Our family had quickly settled right back to where we were on July 11, the night before the kids left for camp.  It’s as if all was right back in place.  That meant that we had to say goodbye to our kids once again.

We say goodbye as they go off with their friends.  We say goodbye as their friends come over to our house, and they huddle in the basement playing video games (boys) or in the bathroom trying out make-up (girls).  We say goodbye as they head off to marching band practice, to ice hockey practice and to cheerleading practice, all of which have started before classes.  Next week, we will say goodbye as they head to school, and we head to work.

As parents, we want to say goodbye.  We know that being online, participating in activities and socializing are what being 12 and being 15 is about.  We know that family activities will happen more rarely as time goes on.  We know we need to plan those activities and family dinners well in advance.

So, as we move towards the start of another school year our kids are back, and they are gone.  Life is as it should be.

Am I Digital Yet?

These days I am feeling way more connected than I’ve ever been. I guess, at age 43, I’ve caught up to most people half my age, and I’m finally, truly digital. Or at least I’ll believe I am.

I’ve learned the obvious — that having a Blackberry just isn’t enough.. There’s much more to being digital than being able to get an email from your boss, your dad or your kids’ school at any hour of the day in any country on the planet. I don’t really think Facebook is enough either, and I’ll admit to never having played one minute of FarmVille (I had to Google it to check the spelling!).

Since August, I’ve been part of the international team at work and have traveled quite a bit. I’ve sent text messages and picture mail to my daughter and video Skyped with my family from 14 time zones away. In general, I’ve started utilizing digital media more – and I think I now know what it really means to be connected – or at least I’ll believe I do. The information overload is a rush, truly a rush.

I now have a blog (but you already know that, because you are reading). I also now use Google Reader to subscribe to about 30 different blogs and check them at home, work and on my iPhone.  Again, digital media keeping me informed.

I have a Twitter account (@lifewithspidey), and I’ve sent 18 tweets, follow 33 tweeters and have 10 followers myself — all more of a start than something to brag about. I have sent tweets from my computer, but also from my iPhone. I get regular Twitter updates on my iPhone and through an add-in in Firefox. For news and information junkies, Twitter is amazing. I knew about Mark McGwire’s steriod admission 20 minutes before it was posted on espn.com.

I figured out how to shorten URL’s with bit.ly, and I created a Flickr account to which I’ve posted all my Spidey photos (links at right). Lastly, I’ve also become a podcast junkie — audio only please. I listed to the podcasts in the car, which are a great supplement to audio books.

At this point, even mentioning a Kindle seems like nothing.

Texting, blogging, tweeting, podcasting – can I say flickring or Firefoxing? Can I (or you or we) get any more connected?

Now I’m off to tweet about his post and notify my Facebook friends about the blog.  Maybe FarmVille is next?

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