I Love The New Me

ImageToday was weigh in day. I am very happy to say I lose a few more pounds!

I am loving my new lifestyle. I do not binge like what I used to do. I would say I have NOT binged in a long time. I do have times when I slip and eat things I shouldn’t. I am much better at portion control that I have ever been.

I have a drive and energy to go to the gym on a regular basis. I find enjoyment at the gym and trying new exercises. I am also now feeling muscles developing more, feeling that difference in me is huge and makes me feel so good.

Having my wife join me at the gym and also watching what she eats make it easier and helps us both try harder to find better ways of eating and getting to the gym.

Friday, I was exhausted and stressed. I didn’t want to go to the gym. I wanted to sit on the couch and just do nothing. My wife said let’s go to the gym. We went for a short 20 minute workout. I came back feeling so great!

Having people involved in your journey makes a huge difference and helps you to succeed. Build a support network, share your goals on social media and just keep trying.

I log every single bite I put in my mouth. I find this extremely valuable to me. I also measure what I eat which is helping me with portion control

Find an exercise routine that you can do. I started with just walking. I would walk every day and strive to reach my goal. I started with low goals and then gradually increased them. Now I set a daily calorie burn goal and work hard to reach it every day. I make the goal reachable and add a little challenge to it.

I don’t want to set myself up for failure.

I want to succeed.

I won’t fail.

We won’t fail.

LoseIt! is starting a new #30DaysBestBody challenge on Monday. Join the #LoseItFam and together we can do it together!

DISCLOSURE: I do NOT receive any compensation for my posts. I participate with these companies because I believe in them and they are helping me.
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Get Healthy As A Family #TheHow

This is a life journey!

I am not just going on a diet, I am changing my life.

I believe that with all of my heart and I am trying very hard to move along this adventure. Failure is not an option and I will NOT fail unless I quit. I started this journey in November 2015 and have struggled through the holidays and many other occasions..

26429378714_2f5e3aa8ae_zMy wife recently talked about wanting to start on her own journey. I am so excited that she is joining me and we can do this together. She has been so supportive of me since I started. She would leave nutrition labels out for me to log and help buy healthy food and try to hide food that would make it difficult for me. Having the person you love join you and support you makes all of the difference.

She met with my trainer to discuss how her journey will start and joined the gym. We created an account on LoseIt for her to log her food and have already went together to The Gym. We tried a class together and are learning how to make this work together. Together we will show our children that you can accomplish anything that you put your mind to. We will show them that making a big change in your life is possible. We will show them that hard work makes things very possible.

We have different specific goals but the ultimate goal is the same.

A Healthy lifestyle!

We will be posting about her experience as well as my experience as I move to toning and with the weight training that I have now added to my program.

Below are two wonderful resources that I use for my journey. Please check them out.

DISCLOSURE: I do NOT receive any compensation for my posts. I participate with these companies because I believe in them and they are helping me.
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Proud to be an Evernote Community Leader

evernote_logo_4c-smI started using Evernote back in 2011 and have found it to be so valuable to my everyday life. I use Evernote to log notes about my professional and personal life.

I keep my notes in Evernote organized with tags and notebooks. I have found it so easy to find information that I created. The ability to have my notes with me on my phone and computer made information easily available at anytime.

I will never forgot when we first went to Disney World and had an issue on our first day. I was able to pull up the notes that I recorded and all information so fast with my phone. I just grabbed my phone, opened Evernote and searched for Disney.

The situation was very easily resolved and we enjoyed a wonderful magical vacation at Disney.

Since then I have been using Evernote even more. The Evernote Web Clipper opened even more possibilities for me. I created a notebook called Articles To Read and clip articles to this notebook to read later. I can highlight sections in the article to make the information even more valuable to me.

When I talk to people about Evernote I also show how I can snap a picture and search for the text in the picture so easily and fast. I am always so excited when I do this. I know, I am a geek! 🙂

I have seen Evernote Ambassadors, tweeted with them and read their blogs and books. I wanted to become one! I believe in Evernote so much that I just want to share how I use it and help others use Evernote and learn from how they use Evernote.

A few years ago I was asked to give a few presentations at a professional development day for a local school district. I proposed one talk on Evernote and one on Agile. Both talks went excellent. I showed how I used Evernote and talked with the administrators and teachers about how they could use it for themselves. We created accounts and installed Evernote on their devices. It was a great success and another proud moment in my Evernote history.

Recently I found out about the Evernote Community Leader program. I applied for the Evernote Community Leader program. I then took a very detailed course about using Evernote, organizing and the different levels of the Evernote Service. I had great discussions with other people in the program.

When I received an email that I was accepted to be an Evernote Community Leader I was so excited! Now, I as an Evernote Community Leader I have some goals that I would like to achieve and would love to talk to anyone about using Evernote.

  • Write blog posts about using Evernote
  • Facilitate workshops on using Evernote
  • Offer advice and consulting on Evernote
  • Create an Evernote Community Leader discussion group on use Educational Technology

ebcc=cl_lrainaldijrSign up for an Evernote account if you do not already have one. The link below will take you to a sign-up page, you can scroll to the bottom to create a Basic (free) account or enhance your experience with a paid account. I subscribe to the Premium level.

Everything you write, everywhere you go
Evernote is designed for modern writing. From project plans to meeting notes, the latest versions of everything you write are automatically available across your devices.

A New Me – How I Feel #LouLoss

I have talked about my health journey and things that I am doing on this journey.

Today, I would like to talk about how I feel.

I have been on this journey for about 6 months now. I have more energy and a general better feeling. I enjoy going to the gym and exercising, even when it is hard. I push myself and feel proud of what I am doing. I do NOT feel like I am restricting what I can eat, I am just making better decisions about what I eat.

I don’t like to miss any workout, I consider a workout any physical activity that I would NOT normally do. I nice walk, longer than I have done. Using the rower at the gym and lifting weights. I feel stronger, happier and motivated to continue this journey.

I am meeting new people that have the same goals as I do and we all motivate and support each other. I think this is very important, some of the people I just know online through LoseIt and others I have met in person at the gym. Having a support system in place is so important in life and in any adventure that you are on.

When I complete a workout with a sweat covered shirt, it makes me feel proud of what I accomplished. Seeing the drop in my weight and seeing the difference in the mirror is an amazing feeling. I feel that my goal is within reach.

I am now creating new goals. I don’t just want to loose weight now, I want to get fit. I want to completely change my lifestyle and become a more healthy person. I want to keep learning how to be healthy and help others along their journey. I want to make better decisions.

I find myself looking for people that are on the same journey as I am on. Some have been on this journey much longer and are maintaining some are just started. We all help inspire each other on a daily basis through interactions that we have. This weight loss journey is NOT just about seeing the number lower but about feeling better about the person I am.

DISCLOSURE: I do NOT receive any compensation for my posts. I participate with these companies because I believe in them and they are helping me.
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11 Month Ago Today… End This Health Crisis!

I have been personally affected by the opiate epidemic. It is a health crisis that is affecting everyone in some way. This past weekend our community lost several more people to this crisis. Losing someone young is a heart ripping feeling. Watching someone struggle with the grips of addiction is living a nightmare.

You see the person you love and know slowly disappear. You see the change in their eyes. Looking in their eyes you want to reach in and hug the person you love so much but the person on the outside is different. They are fighting a battle that many people can never understand. You hug them and try to reach for that person inside to come out.

I have heard people say let the addicts die, they chose this lifestyle. Addiction started with a choice, a choice that every one of us makes. The difference is that a person with addiction can NOT stop without a lot of help. They have a need for the drug and they will do anything to get that drug like it is air itself. Addiction comes in many forms, some people over eat, so people cut themselves and there are so many other addictions. The addictions they are battling are very REAL. Like a monster inside of them that they have to fight every day, every hour.

Drugs and alcohol are so common in our society that you are confronted with it on a daily basis. Drugs may be legally prescribed by a doctor. Alcohol is at just about every event. Children are trying substances at an earlier age than ever before. Many people use substances to cover up the feelings that they are dealing with such as depression, mental illness and chronic pain. We all know that these are very real illnesses, but we don’t treat people with addiction as an illness. There is a change occurring right now where addiction is starting to be treated like the disease it is.

It’s been 11 months since we lost Amber. She was the light of my life. I remember the minute she was born. The excitement and love that filled my heart at that minute. My life changed with her birth and I learn what unconditional love is. You do NOT just stop loving someone because they are ill. You love them more.

Addiction scares me. I have two children that I am so afraid could be affected by this horrible disease. We teach them about addiction, drugs, bullying and so many other aspects of life. We want to give them the tools they need to say NO. But, saying NO is just not enough. We need to provide tools for them to use when, (yes when) they are confronted in these situations.

So, how do we do this. INVOLVEMENT. Yes, being involved in our community and our FAMILY. We must be involved and teach our children how to handle these situations. Don’t just tell them drugs are bad. Help them know what to do when they are in a situation that will pressure them. This is not easy. But we must remember that they need our help. It is much easier to help them before they become addicted than after. Sadly, we can give our children all of the tools and resources available and they still may be gripped by addiction.

Open your eyes and be realistic. Don’t think “Not My Child“, this can happen to ANYONE. Addiction does not discriminate. Addiction can affect the young and old, the rich and poor.

There are many resources available to help someone in addiction,  education people to prevent addiction and also support people who love addicts. I would like to hear what resources you know of and why you feel they are valuable.

Some resources that I know of and support are listed below. Please help build this post up with valuable information for someone trying to fight addiction or to help education others to prevention drug abuse.

www.aa.org
www.aa.org

www.na.org
www.na.org

http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/
http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/

www.sagesarmy.com
www.sagesarmy.com

www.notonemorepgh.net
www.notonemorepgh.net

http://www.candleinc.org/
http://www.candleinc.org/

 

What is Agile?

I am a principal engineer that architects software and also a Certified Scrum Master. I have been in a Scrum team for about 4 years now.

At times I find it interesting and confusing when people talk about Agile and what Agile is. I hear people talk processes that must be followed and metrics that should be measured. But, I don’t think that is what Agile is about.

When I think about Agile I think back to the Agile Manifesto.

We are uncovering better ways of developing
software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, we value the items on the left more.

Read more at: http://agilemanifesto.org/

Processes and metrics are important but I don’t believe that they are part of Agile. I think that looking at the above manifesto and thinking about the definition of Agile.

Agile software development is a set of principles for software development in which requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams.

Read more at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agile_software_development

I feel being agile means that we are having constant communication with our partners and team members. We are collecting requirements and refining requirements on an ongoing basis. We are showing our results soon and regularly. We are able to adapt to changes in requirements as they are identified and not use a process to stop change.

I think as we dig deeper into Agile and other methodologies that we find some of the processes that people talk of like code reviews, swarming and sprint planning. But I don’t think these themselves are Agile, they are just a way of being agile using other agile methodologies. I also think that many of these processes are very good and use them myself.

But, I think that like the manifesto says “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools“, we need to put individuals first and the personal interactions are vital to being agile. Processes and tools are secondary to the people and communications.

I would like to start a short series where I dig deep into the Agile Manfesto and think about it and write my thoughts. I would love to hear your thoughts also as we go on this exploration. I believe in learning as often as possible and keeping an ongoing dialog.

Image credit: http://davehorsager.squarespace.com/the-trust-edge/2014/6/6/strategy-for-innovative-agility-trust-trends-2014-series.html

My Lifestyle Change Journey

My journey started in November of 2015. Two weeks ago I joined The Gym Pittsburgh and enlisted a personal trainer, Laurie. I have been following her instructions, including a meal plan and new workout routines.

WeighIn20160430

I have lost 10 pounds in the two weeks that I have been training with Laurie at The Gym!  She pushes me to try harder and expand my comfort zone. She teaches me the right way to do exercises so I don’t hurt myself. Learning how to use the equipment keeps me safe and ensures that the exercises are productive. If I did these exercise on my own and don’t know the proper way I can get hurt. I also wouldn’t get the results because of bad form which Laurie monitors and teaches me. I feel having Laurie is a huge value to my journey. She is a partner in helping me do the right thing.

I am changing my lifestyle. I am making it a habit exercise every day. This week I lowered my treadmill distance a little and added the rower to my routine. I meet with Laurie twice a week and she targets specific areas. Yesterday was CORE and shoulders. I was using ropes while doing planks! I couldn’t believe I did that!

26634295162_a8a4b4683a_oToday, I changed my daily calorie burn goal from 350 to 400. I have been achieving my 350 calorie burn goal for 15 days now. I didn’t want to go to far because I don’t want to set myself up for failure. I believe in small achievable goals that push myself.

My calorie burn is based on exercise above and beyond what my body burns just from living.

The How

I find using LoseIt.com a huge help on my journey. The community of people are friendly. We motivate each other and work together to achieve our goals. I set goals on LoseIt that I monitor. Not only weight goals. I have goals for Sodium, Protein, Sugar, Carbs and Fiber set. I also added goals for my waist and bicep size. Add this in with weigh in pictures that I track on Evernote and I have everything I need to help myself. I do not meet all of my goals, but I watch them and learn from what I am doing.

I go to The Gym as often as possible, sometimes for a short walk on the treadmill, sometimes for a full exercise routine with Laurie and sometimes for a class. I love the yoga class which helps me keep myself in the moment and stretch and recover.

I am part of a Facebook group that has a community of friends all working on this journey. This is another huge help on this journey to learn and motivate me.

What works for you?

Why do you want to change your lifestyle?

DISCLOSURE: I do NOT receive any compensation for my posts. I participate with these companies because I believe in them and they are helping me.

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Failure Is Not An Option #TheHow

I started this journey in November of 2015. I have been logging everything I eat. I have had several slips and falls. But I keep getting back up and trying again. Failure is NOT an option. A journey is an adventure and a challenge. You learn from your mistakes and adapt and make adjustments.

I have found that logging all of my food is a huge help and keeps me accountable to myself. This journey is about me and only me. I post about my journey to further my accountability. I learn from others, celebrate other’s success and am motivated by them. I struggle at times because I am changing my lifestyle. I try to push my comfort zone as much as possible.

I have found some very useful tips and articles by reading The How published by LoseIt. I set goals for myself that are realistic and measurable. I don’t totally restrict myself, if I did I would not succeed. I reward myself as I reach my goals. I am feeling the difference in my body and mind.

26312069430_9158fbf8ca_oI now have a personal trainer helping me who pushes me and advises me. Her guidance isTheGymPittsburgh_logo helping me move to my next level. Now, I not only walk but I have strength training as part of my regular routine. I try to have at least of 30 minutes of activity every day. I use the Apple Watch app to monitor to my daily goals with fitness.

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DISCLOSURE: I do NOT receive any compensation for my posts. I participate with these companies because I believe in them and they are helping me.

Success tips for my journey #TheHow

I have found some tips that make my journey more successful and I would like to share them today.

Menu Planning

As a family we sit down weekly to plan out our menu for the week. This helps with out food budget as well as eating more healthy. We write out what evens are happening during the week so we can plan our schedule and meals. Then we work on meals that are healthy and sometimes quick. We like to have our  children involved in this weekly planning so they help choose meals and also understand that there will be meals they may not like or that we want to try. Menu planning is a valuable part of my journey.

Fruits & Veggies

We try to use more vegetables and I try to fill my plate with  good veggies. We love to substitute spaghetti squash for pasta! Also, keeping more fruit in the house and available helps me from going after any junk food that may be found around the house.

Exercise

I love to walk! My family and I go for walks outside when it is nice but I also joined a local gym. I try to get every day and get some miles in on the treadmill. I also try to push my comfort zone, the only way to make a difference is to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. It never hurts to try and afterwards it feels good.  I keep trying to change things up and I see nice results from that.

Eat Mindfully

I have mentioned mindfulness several times in these posts. I really believe that makes a huge difference. Being mindful and in the moment keeps you focused.

Mindful eating is not a diet. It’s about experiencing food more intensely and really enjoying what you eat. – from The How

My success tips above are basic, I think most people would know them already. But there are so many more. I find that reading The How gives me ideas and also helps me plan out each of the tips to be more successful.

What tips do you have? I would love to hear them.

DISCLOSURE: I do NOT receive any compensation for my posts. I participate with these companies because I believe in them and they are helping me.

Staying With Apple Watch over Fitbit

I have been a Fitbit user for many years. I started with the Ultra, then moved to the One and progressed to the Surge. Fitbit has built a wonderful platform and really has mastered the social aspect of fitness. Fitbit’s use of gamification is something that other companies should look at as a model.

25247104095_c34e98de5b_zAbout two months ago my wife and I decided to purchase Apple Watches. We considered waiting for Fitbit’s Blaze, but both wanted to try the Apple Watch.

I was missing the social aspects of Fibit, the challenges that are available and other gamification available. So last week I purchased a Fitbit Blaze and was going to sell my Apple Watch. My wife said she was staying with the Apple Watch.

After a few days with the Blaze I decided to stay with Apple Watch. I have noticed some very large variances in the accuracy of the Fitbit tracker. On a treadmill I am noticing 1/2 mile difference on a 2 mile walk. I noticed this on multiple times. I have found others that experience the discrepancies also. When I walk on a treadmill I move my hands just like walking outside. I do NOT hold on the treadmill handles. I have compared this with both the Apple Watch and Microsoft Band 2. Both do not have the same inaccuracies. This is a huge failing point on Fitbit, if you put the device in your pocket as is sometimes recommended it works out. But the devices have heart beat monitors so putting them in your pocket defeats the purpose of the heart beat monitor.

Another big difference I noticed between the Fitbit (both Surge and Blaze) and Apple Watch is comfort. I feel that the Apple Watch is much more comfortable on my wrist and doesn’t get in the way. The Fitbit devices have a clasp that seems to rub and the material is not as comfortable.

26397965465_f6320c5b89_bSomething that I noticed about the Activity app on Apple Watch is how the goals are displayed. Three rings are provided: 1)Move, 2)Exercise, 3)Stand. Apple Watch does not set goals on steps, it does count your steps but concentrates on calories burned from fitness. This is actually harder to achieve than just your step counts. Also, the Exercise ring has a goal of 30 minutes daily. The 30 exercise minutes are tracked and the device learns how your exercise and pushes you to do more but giving you minutes for more difficult minutes. As an example, I do 40 minutes on the treadmill, this does NOT count as a full 40 minutes of exercise all the time. I have to have my heart rate at a certain point and it also learns my activity so it doesn’t count exercise minutes that I can do more easily. This sounds strange at first and frustrated me when I didn’t reach my goal, but it makes reaching this goal more challenging.

These are the two reasons that I am giving up on Fitbit and staying with Apple Watch. I would love to see Apple or a third party, even Fitbit add challenges and gamification to the Apple Watch. Even a paid app from Fitbit would be wonderful.

As I thought about which device to keep, I considered the above issues that I encountered as well as other features offered on each device. The app store on Apple Watch is full of many useful apps. I use Day One for journaling on a daily basis, this is only available on the Apple Watch. LoseIt has an Apple Watch app that lets me look at my calorie intake and nutrient summary from my wrist. With the price decrease on the Apple Watch it makes the it more affordable and with the additional features and accuracy of the activity tracker it increases the value.

I am curious if which device you prefer and why?