Those of you that know me best know that I'm something of an EDC (Every Day Carry) nerd. What's EDC? It's the stuff that you carry in your pockets and bags every day - the things that are most useful to you, that you can't live/work/play without.
At least once or twice a week I head over to the Every Day Carry website and check out the latest and greatest posts from doctors, soldiers, designers, programmers, and everyone else from all walks of life. I always think to myself, "one of these days I really need to submit my EDC picture and story!" Well, I finally stopped procrastinating, and I'm pleased to show off my first submission - check it out at http://everydaycarry.com/posts/9353/Mobile-UX-Design-and-Prototyping.
Too lazy to click? Here's a quick list of what's in my normal day-to-day EDC kit at the office:
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.
Today was my 1 year anniversary of starting the weight loss program. It's also the first appointment I've had in four weeks (due to scheduling conflicts). Let's do a recap of everything in the last year or two:
Before the Fall
April 2013: I am fat. Morbidly obese. 335-340 lbs. My diabetes is out of control, I'm getting sick with great frequency, I am miserable physically and mentally, and I don't really see a light at the end of the tunnel.
May 2013: I don't know what the hell happened, but thanks to a nasty stomach thing, I lost about 30-35 lbs. through vomiting and diarrhea. DELICIOUS!
April 2014: I managed to keep those 30-35 lbs. off, but I'm still feeling terrible all the time. No improvement with the diabetes - in fact, things have gotten worse. I'm now up to 112 units of Levemir (once-a-day insulin) and it's making almost no difference in things.
It’s Time for a Change
May 2014: After much hemming and hawing, I've decided to give weight loss a serious try - something I’ve honestly never done before. I knew that, because of the diabetes and my extremely slow healing (like, the opposite of Wolverine - I never fully healed from anything) that I wasn’t a good candidate for bariatric surgery. Plus, the idea of going under the knife - even laproscopically - just wasn’t doing it for me.
On May 19, 2014, I had my first appointment with Dr. Lehrhaupt and her team with Comprehensive Weight Management Center in Gaithersburg, MD. My attitude was not the greatest. I was very negative. I doubted that anything she was saying would help. I doubted that I had the ability, strength, or willpower to do anything she was saying to me. Even the idea of finding 15 minutes a day to just walk was... abhorrent to me. It just wasn’t the way I operated. It was a lot of extra work, and the results were going to take time.
For the first two weeks of my foray into living healthier, all I had to do was use MyFitnessPal to track my normal calorie intake daily. To be honest with it - and myself. We needed to find my baseline - how was I maintaining 300 lbs.? How much did I really eat? What was I really eating? The why’s of it all - we tackled that later. First thing was first, however: what was I eating, and what was my body doing with it?
Lots of tests on that first day. Seven or eight vials of blood. We measured my Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) with a device that you breath into for 10 minutes. It tells you how many calories you need to eat to maintain your current weight without making any changes to your diet or activity level. It was pretty high - I don’t remember how high, but it was over 2500 calories a day.
I met up with the doctor, and we went over my diet. Venti Peppermint Mochas, Roy Roger’s cheeseburgers, candy, chocolate, ice cream. Nachos. Fast food more than six times a week. Never cooked, unless it was a steak and some microwave potatoes. Vegetables? What were those? Fruits? Only as a topping on a sunday, and only after the chocolate sauce and whipped cream. And sprinkles! Oh, sprinkles, how I loved thee! And beer. Lots of beer. Lots. Of. Beer. All. The. Time.
I was eating an average of 3300 calories a day.
Shall We Begin?
There it was, shining brightly from her computer screen, the details of my life. High cholesterol. Triglycerides off the charts. A1C - the indicator of how your blood sugar was over the last 3-6 months - was over 9.3; that’s terrible, by the way. An average person has an A1C of around 5.3. Anything above 7 is diabetic. Anything above 9 is “oh shit”. I was at that level for a long time.
My entire body chemistry was bad. Really, really bad. No wonder I always felt bad - I was low on the good stats, and high on the bad stats. It was time to start making changes.
First, the diet. I went from eating whatever I wanted to being restricted to 2400 calories a day. If I stuck to just that and no exercise, I’d slowly lose weight. Maybe 1lb a week. Maybe. So we did that. And I walked - just walked - for 15 minutes during the day. A lap around the area my office was located at, a walk through the mall, just something to get my activity level up from, well, zilch.
It was hard. Again, my attitude was bad, and I was punchy as all heck. I was not feeling satisfied at all during the day. Hungry all the time. And I hated the walking. Hated it.
A week after I started, I had my first check-in with the doctor. I lost a single pound. One measly pound. I was not impressed. I made all of these changes to my life, I was miserable, and all I had to show for it was one pound in a week? All I could think was “F that noise.”
The doctor convinced me to stick it out, and try for a few more weeks. “Fine,” I said. I was a great many things, but a quitter? Nope. That’s not me. So I stuck it out.
I had another check in a week later, on May 28. I went from 298 lbs. to 293 lbs..
Holy crap. I lost 5 lbs. in a week? And all I had to do was eat less and exercise a little bit every day? “Well... I guess I can try this for a little bit longer. Whatever.”
As time went on, I kept losing more weight and becoming more open to increasing my exercise, to lowering my caloric intake. To trying harder. To look at each day as a single day - whatever happened yesterday doesn’t matter, and whatever happens tomorrow, I’ll worry about it then.
It has never gotten easier, but I’ve become more used to it.
Today was my 1 year anniversary appointment with Dr. Lehrhaupt. It wasn’t my best appointment - I gained 0.2 lbs. over the last month - but realistically, I’ve maintained 222 lbs. for a month. It’s still 42 lbs. from my goal weight of 180 lbs., but when you look at the big picture, I’ve lost 79 lbs. this one year, and about 120 lbs. in the last two years. That’s pretty amazing, and I’m proud.
It has become a little harder recently. I have to admit that. I’ve cheated a lot. I’ve skipped the treadmill and yoga a lot over the last two months. A lot of my life is in a weird state right now, and my new commute of 2 hours in the morning and 2-3 hours in the evening had made finding time - and energy - to exercise hard.
I will get back on track - I need to do it. I don’t like failing, and I refuse to give up everything I’ve worked towards.
Just as a good wrap up, I wanted to post this:
May of 2014 Clothing Sizes
May of 2015 Clothing Sizes
I am, admittedly, a hardcore Apple Fanboy™. The first websites I visit every morning are CultOfMac.com and MacRumors.com. When Apple announces an event is coming, I’m guaranteed to be streaming it on my computer, as well as my iPhone or iPad. I’m the guy that everyone comes to about what phone to buy, what tablet to buy, and “Hey, what’s cool about the new Apple whatever?”
I’m also a wristwatch collector. I’ve been in love with horology and wristwatches in particular for the last six years or so. My collection ranges from the mundane Citizen’s and Seiko's to the beautiful luxury of Omega’s (and their amazing co-axial movements) and Tag Heuer's. I also have owned two Pebble smart watches - the first, original plastic model that came out last year, and the Pebble Steel.
I’ve also undergone a huge lifestyle transformation over the last 11 months. In May of 2014, I decided to get my weight under control, and began a diet and exercise program that has resulted in my going from 330 lbs to 225 lbs today. I’ve stuck with it, and I’m living a happier, healthier life. Part of that has to do with the fact that I’ve been using a Withings Pulse O2 to track my exercise and sleep, and MyFitnessPal to track my caloric intake.
With that in mind, you’d think the Apple Watch was the perfect crossover for me. It’s Apple. It’s a smart watch. It’s a fitness tracker. It’s everything that I love and use daily. And yet… I’m not buying one. At least, not yet, and probably not for a while.
Don’t get me wrong - I think the Apple Watch is amazing. It’s beautiful, it’s extremely functional. It does a lot of great things. I love the fitness tracking, the design of the interfaces (I’m a UX guy, after all). I love the sheer amount of thought that went into the materials they chose to use, the bracelets & straps, and even the innovative system of swapping out straps easily with a clipping system.
Where they lose me is battery life. 18 hours with “average use”. Less than a day. My Pebble, which doesn’t do all of the things that the Apple Watch does, I can easily get five or six days of battery life before I have to charge it. That’s with getting a bombardment of notifications every day from e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, my Withings, and other apps that I’m constantly using. In the year that I’ve used a Pebble, only twice has the watch been so overwhelmed with notifications that the battery was drained in less than a day, and I could’ve prevented it by simply disabling notifications in Facebook Messenger and Twitter for a few hours.
I can’t imagine how the Apple Watch would do under that kind of bombardment, and because I’d use it to replace my fitness tracker as well, I’m not a fan of potentially losing track of my activity for any span of time when it’s become so important to my life. I go over the fitness tracking data with my doctor every few weeks when we do a weigh in. The data that I gather from the Withings, and MyFitnessPal, all compiled neatly in Apple’s Health app, have helped me make smart decisions with my health, and have resulted in amazing changes to my life.
The other concern I have with the Apple Watch is the upgrade path - or lack thereof at the moment. When you buy a phone or a tablet, the expectation is that you’ll replace it at some point. It’s the way of the technology world. You enjoy the features and the speed of the devices over some extended period of time, and as things start to slow down, or new features appear on next gen devices, you want or need to upgrade.
For the Apple Watch Sport, that makes sense. It’s relatively cheap at $349 - for something that you don’t need to have (though the need to have a phone is, to some, debatable). But, for someone who buys the Apple Watch Edition - the one that starts at $10,000 - I have to wonder if Apple has an upgrade path. Could you swap out the battery and the logic board ever year or two, and keep the very expensive gold and sapphire watch? Pay a few hundred for an upgrade? Or will you have to buy a brand new watch - and if that’s the case, what about the resale value?
Ultimately, I love the design of the Apple. I’m quite literally watching @LanceUlanoff doing a live review of the Apple Watch on Periscope right now, and it’s definitely an amazing device. I know that at some point I’m going to get the Apple Watch. Just... not yet.