December 09, 2011

iFit - Another follow up.

Since it's been a while, I decided to write a bit of a follow up on the iFit module as there have been some developments.

The classical music
I recently found out with some help from Amanda (@IFit Live Support) that getting rid of that pesky song is as easy as connecting the module to your PC and going into the "Audio" folder on the drive. In there you'll find a file called "test.mp3". Delete it (or move it to somewhere on your PC for safekeeping) and let the silence engulf you!

The not posting to Facebook
A new firmware was released recently that apparently takes care of this issue. So far I have done 2 workouts and both were correctly finalized (mail + facebook post).

What's still wrong?
I still have to press the iFit or "My Training" buttons a zillion times before I get the new workout, it keeps suggesting the last done workout. The best way to get to the new workout seems to be to remove the safety key again, put it back and try again.

Also the shutdowns seem to have stopped too. The only shutdown is if I let the machine idle for 10 minutes or so. Seems that the way the iFit asks for a shutdown is not the way the machine likes it, as it requires a power cycle to get it started again.

I have to admit I didn't try the maps feature anymore since it caused so much issues last time, but perhaps I should and let you all know how it went. Now that I don't have to sit through that entire song anymore it doable.

Signing off.

Still Alive!


(This is a pretty long one. If you want to take away anything of this and just skip the junk, start reading at "So?" :) )

It's been a while since my last post but rest assured, I'm still here :)

Been somewhat busy lately, but wanted to take some time to tell you about a couple of my anxieties the last couple of weeks. 

Usually when I go on a vacation, with my food addiction and all, I come back a couple of kg's heavier. When there is a buffet for example, I've always felt the urge to taste everything, every evening. A 3kg heavier return trip from a 2 weeks vacation? Very plausible.

So yeah, queue a week to Turkey followed by a week in Romania for work. Since I have been doing so well lately I was pretty scared about both weeks. Didn't wanna break the flow ya'know?

New mindset?
Luckily it turned out that my need for all these things is not really there anymore. Somehow I managed to change my thinking process into a realistic one. Lately, when I look at something sweet that I used to be very fond of I'm always thinking: This is probably about X calories. To get rid of that many calories I have to abuse my treadmill about this long. Is it worth it? And somehow the answer is "naah!" most of the time. 

The cool thing is that when I decide it is, I consciously will take a much smaller portion than I used to. I just eat it a lot slower. This way the enjoyment lasts a lot longer than the bigger portion (which usually got swallowed in one piece).  

The week in Turkey went pretty well food wise. Ate a lot of vegetables from the buffet and tasted a lot of the local dishes, but in moderation. I checked out the dessertbuffet every day but couldn't usually find something that I liked very much so most of the time I returned without anything. And of course I made a ton of pictures (take a look if you are interested).

Not having my treadmill wasn't so bad since we were walking around all the time. 
The netto result of our trip to Turkey? -900gr after 8 days. So despite of the different food with lots and lots of olive oil still managed to lose almost my average loss in a week. Moderation works!

The week to Romania was a bit worse, as I've been working there the entire week. Not much movement there. I really don't like to run outside. In Belgium this is mainly because of my bad knees. But the idea of running around in Romania, hmm no I'd rather not. 

Unfortunately the food there is not nearly as good as Turkey and because we usually order out it's hard form me to try to get something healthy every time. I ate a pizza while we were there, albeit a small one and so on. 

On the flights to and from they seduced me with one thing I still really like: Snickers! Both meals included a little one (like 1/4th of the regular size). I ate them both but by choice, not by "forced behavior".

I'm starting to realize that I feel less and less "obliged" to eat something just because it's there. In my entire history with weight problems this is something I never managed before. In my opinion this is the single most important thing that everyone who wants to loose weight needs to accomplish first.  

But how?
The reason for this is twofold:
First, I'm extremely lucky to have someone who is in the same situation and who fully supports me. I don't think I would been able to get here without the support of my girlfriend in all this. 

Secondly: Because I gave myself a frame of reference to compare against! I know how hard I have to workout to get rid of 100kcals. Before all this I never even cared. Knowing this helps you think about something you are about to put in your mouth. That in turn gives you the power to say no.

So what about diets then? 
Pfuh, away with them as far as I'm concerned. They do way more damage than good. My girlfriend has been in that situation. She tried a lot of the diets out there. The end result was that the weight she gained back after the diet stopped was all fat and nearly no muscle. That really sucks, because she did lose a lot of muscle mass during. 

The end result of all that is that she has had a way harder time than I did to hang in there. She needed to gain more muscle first before she could burn enough energy to lose weight. Of course all the medication she was getting during did no good either. 

Luckily we have one of those scales that measures the muscle-% versus the fat-%. This is by no means an exact science, but it showed enough difference every weigh-in for her to continue. I'm happy to be able to say that she's now at a point were she is also starting to lose weight.

But if you take everything into consideration you realize there is no such thing as a quick-fix-diet to lose weight permanently. Anything that involves food supplements, pills, whatever is bound to fail in the long run. 

The only thing that works is changing your eating habits and to make sure you get plenty of workout. 

Will this last for me? I don't know, I guess time will tell. But I'm doing it like this since about September and so far I've lost 14kg! Since we're not dieting, we also don't feel that we need to indulge once in a while and the cravings have almost absent (or perfectly manageable) as well.

Before/After(during) picture. Ignore the pink in the before picture (it was taken at "Race for the Cure", a breast cancer awareness event) and for the during picture, the just-out-of-bed-head:

November 04, 2011

Minus 9!

I'm really pushing myself hard to only use the scale once a week. For me that day is usually Saturday morning. This morning however, I couldn't wait... I stepped on the scale and waited and it told me 121kgs. To be sure I turned it off again, stepped on it: 121kg.


For me that pretty much means -9kg since we started eating healthy. Put in context that means that it is the first time I'm around the 120kg barrier in about 2 years. For me this is a big thing. Passing that barrier will be even bigger.

What is even more awesome is that we aren't actually following a diet or whatever. We just decided that we had enough of our unhealthy lifestyle of soda and take-out food. Drinking plenty of water, eating healthy and some extra workouts.

It's amazing for me that in those 2 short months I learned to appreciate vegetables again and my food portions have shrunk significantly as well.

See you on the other side of 120!

PS: For the doomsayers: I fully realize that it won't be going as smoothly the rest of the way, but as long as it does? You don't hear me complaining. If I start to lose less weight I'm gonna work harder, its that easy :)


October 29, 2011

iFit Live - The Review

I have now owned the iFit Live for 5 workouts already so I figured a small review is in  order. For those just tuning in: I use it together with my NordTrack T20.0 treadmill.

The Good

I try to always start with the goog things first and for the iFit there are many.

  • The ability to do workouts that have been created by professional trainers: Awesome. As I already mentioned in one of my other posts I am really bad when it comes to setting goals. I tend to be too lazy and make it too easy for myself. A professional workout being delivered to my treadmill forces me to bite through my self-pity and just do it!
  • The maps functionality: Wow :) I mean come on, being able to design routes of events you want to participate in and so on. Really nice. 
  • Total solution: It is clear that iFit wants to profile itself as an all around solution to help you get in control of your own life. It gives you the tools to track your food and weight and all related things.
  • Facebook integration: Nothing gives me more energy than a friend who encourages your workout by being able to respond on your facebook and that reaction appearing on your treadmills display as if it were the most normal thing in the world.

The Bad

  • The issues with the treadmill turning of at random points. This is now solved by locking my wireless network into a single channel. I'm not really happy about it, as I think that the ability of the airport devices (and all other apple devices) to be able to relocate to a new wifi channel when the old one is not optimal is awesome. But I guess I'll live. Don't ask me how I figured out that this feature was the culprit, I'm not even sure myself :P (more details)
  • Getting the entire thing to work. Don't know how or what I did wrong and perhaps the above issue is related, but it took me a shitload of effort to get the entire thing working. After more than an hour in the treadmill I still had no users (I have an account with 2 users but the treadmill always showed me the main login). When it finally worked I could not find out how to add a specific workout to my program. I managed to find a page once where the workouts had the "+ Add workout" button, but after that, nothing more to e seen in my account.
    It took me a while to figure out that all it needed was a logout/login to get the workout to be displayed on my dashboard and the rest to show up. Or perhaps I did that re-login just at the right time and the site was very slow? Nevertheless this process took 3+ hours.
  • The classical music. Who's brilliant idea was this? Seriously! The first time your treadmill starts playing classical music on its own it has a bit of a "wow" feeling but after 15 times it gets REALLY annoying. Is this really the only way to convey "I'm currently loading data" to the customer?
    My GF and I usually do our workouts back to back. It turns out that the treadmill is being turned of after 5 minutes of inactivity. I don't know if this is done by the iFit module or the treadmill itself. Anyway, if it turns off like this, the only way to get it back on after that is to power-cycle. So everytime  we leave on the treadmill for each other and the other one is a bit too late, I get to hear the fancy tune again.
  • Also, the first workout I did turned out to be the wrong one. It made me do the "Get Fit #1" first while I wanted "Weight Loss #1". Seems that this can be solved by going back to the "Home" section and pressing the "My Trainer" button again on the treadmill. It then appears to re-download some data and decides that it should now use the other workout.

The Possible Improvements

  • Treat all your customers equally. What I mean by that is this: if you offer the possibility to switch between imperial and metric, be consistent and do it everywhere. Don't convert back to imperial internally because for someone who uses metric it is really annoying to see that if you enter your length as 184cm it is displayed as 182.7cm the next time. I understand that in the States it is rounded to an inch, but we use cm's and I don't like to be smaller all of a sudden. The site displays numbers in metric fine. The workout summary mail gives the impression it was added hastily afterwards (by displaying the numbers in imperial but giving you a conversion between brackets) and both the "measurements applet" and your facebook app don't even support metric. My GF would really like to use the measurement applet but we can't convert everything to inches.
    A lot of people who follow me on facebook don't have a clue on how to convert miles to km's.
    Small piece of advice from the web-developer in me: Store the numbers as they are in your database. Keep them in metric for metric users and in imperial for imperials. Just determine what unit name to add behind it when you output instead of re-caculating things. 
  • If this is my treadmill's fault then I apologize, but it seems that a lot of the encouraging voice samples ("Come on, you can do it! You are changing your body right now!") have a couple of silent seconds at the end. On my treadmill this manifests as: your music stops, the sample plays and then you get to enjoy silence from 0 to sometimes 5 seconds. Getting my energy to workout from my music this is somewhat annoying.
  • The navigation on the site is really unclear to me. My GF and I only discovered by accident that you could edit the current weight by going to the Goals page and then use the breadcrumbs to navigate "up" to the other pages. Up is quoted because it is displayed as being a navigational path, but actually it isn't.
  • Sharing maps. As was pointed out to me on the iFit facebook page it is not possible to share running routes. Since it takes a lot of time and effort to draw your own it would be nice if this was possible.
I will definitely keep using the iFit as despite the aforementioned things, but fixing these will increase my happiness level for sure.

Just my $0.02 :)

I'm becoming iFitter!

So this morning I finished workout #2 in the iFit Weight loss program (level 4). 

I did workout 1 yesterday. On their site, the workout looks like this:

The blocks with the white lines are the inclination of the treadmill. Top of the image is an inclination of 10%. The black line is the speed which, at its peak, is 7.7kph.

Workout 2 looks like this: 

I realized today that not only are they switching between speed and endurance training, but they also change the main form of training between workout. The first one was more oriented towards speed, whilst the second one was more inclination.

For fun, I weighed myself yesterday before and after the workout and the diference was 800gr! This means that I sweat out nearly a complete kg during the workout. Wowza :)

As a sidenote: I am now at -7.3kg from the starting point.

I will not be adding more images, as I'm sure people at iFit won't like this :)

October 28, 2011

Running across the world

Ever since we have the treadmill, I've been checking out that iFit functionality and last week Friday I decided to just order their live module. The idea of being able to do workouts designed by professional trainers, or run a specific route after you click it together on Google Maps, it just spoke to me. Like I said a couple times already, I love running, but if I get to set my own goals I am way to gentle to myself. So I need someone to kick my ass and force me to push through.

Today the module was delivered and I thought I was ready for loads of extra fun.

Unfortunately that's not what happened. The setup seemed to be going great, although it's pretty obvious the product is made for people running windows on their computer. I do not however since a while. 

Placing the module in the treadmill, I finally managed to get it to find both Sandy's and my account. Messing around on their website to try to get one of those programs activated so I could do it. I thought it was okay and after doing the first one I realized it made me do the first step in the "Get Fit" program instead of the "Losing Weight". 

On top of that the module has made my treadmill crash a couple times already. Can you imagine that? :) 

I don't know how this is going to end but at this point it is NOT looking good for that iFit thing.

Update: While trying to analyse what could cause the crashes at random moments I came to the conclusion that perhaps the automatic radio channel selection functionality of my Airport network was to blame. Please don't ask me for the flow-process on how I got there, I honestly can't even tell you. Anyway, it seems that I was right. I disabled the automatic switching to the best channel and locked it down. The module hasn't crashed since.

October 24, 2011

Going, going, gone!

Short update: the treadmill is awe-some! It took me a bit of messing around to get it to stop slipping (or however its called when the belt shifts) but since then it's been working really nice. Both my GF and myself have used it every day so far. I try to run at the very least 2.5km a day. So happy to realize that even with the extra padding, I still love to run on a treadmill. Good thing, as it wasn't the smallest of investments someone can make.

October 22, 2011


I've always liked running since I started working out. At my lowest weight I ran on a treadmill 3 times a week for an hour and a half. I'm one of the few persons I know that actually likes running on a treadmill as opposed to outside. The fact that I can completely zone out during a workout and just focus on myself and the awesome music I'm listening to at that point, yeah it's what makes it fun for me.

Well that and the fact that I have bad knees (mainly due to my weight) and that I sometimes get sick of it all of a sudden and just want to be able to press the stop button and retry another time. 

The thing that bothered me most about using the treadmill at the gym however, was that you actually have to pack your bag and drive there and back etc. What a time waster!

All of this makes that owning my own treadmill has been the first and foremost thing on my wish-list the last 5 years. 

About a week ago I was browsing through it and when I saw it, I told my girlfriend about this. To my amazement she responded that she also likes to run and would love to start doing it again. But with the winter coming up, she liked the idea of having a treadmill. We decided to invest in one together and after a number of hours looking on the internet it was decided that we would go for the NordicTrack T20.0. Since you have to keep in mind a lot of things when purchasing one (frequency of use, weight of the user, strength of the motor, width of the belt etc), we wanted to get a good one to start with.
The T20 can carry up to 160kg and has a belt of 51cm wide. The motor is 3HP so enough for semi professional running. 

And the best of all: It was delivered today!

Unfortunately it was an extremely big and heavy box (100kgs). The delivery dude helped me put it in the hallway and then told me to have fun and left. Normally he wasn't even allowed to assist me so far. 

The battle against the box started. Since there was no way I would ever get the box out of the hallway in one piece (and believe me, I tried), I finally had to open it up and get everything out in pieces. 

I'm going to save you all from the story to get it assembled but it suffices to say that it is standing in my living room, being happy. Not for long though, this thing will be tortured beyond belief pretty soon!

Ow and by the way: I lost 6kg already.

October 14, 2011

A healthy life

For many years I've been obese. There, it's out. My entire adult life, I was way too heavy. About 8 years ago, after passing 115kg on the scale, I decided to do something about it. With the help of my parents, a really good dietician and about a years time I managed to get to about 87kg. According to the dietician that is my ideal weight, given that I'm built pretty heavy. I remained at this weight for almost a year and between the watching what I ate and a lot of sport I was actually really happy then.

Then I met this girl at the gym and we became a couple. We went out to search an apartment a couple months later and moved out of the nest. Unfortunately we weren't really made for each other and as it turned out later I was a complete idiot. She liked an ice cream pretty much every night and fed me one too. I should've had the balls to refuse but I didn't. It was my first relation and to avoid conflict I just shoved in the food. About a year later I weighed around 100kg's again. At that point, pretty much at the moment I told her I was out of money as well after paying for pretty much everything in the relation, she left me. Broke and fat again. As I posted in the past, I was far from the easiest guy back then. I've also spend the last couple of months of our relation at home. Just came out of a legal battle with my previous employer. I cannot divulge more details about that as it's part of my "I-wont-sue-you-if-..."-agreement with then, but I won (that much I can say). Anyway due to what happend I really didn't feel like taking on a new job for a while.

All of that really did not do me any good. 

To keep following half year short: I took on a job far beneath my potential, just to get money to come in again, went to a really rough time money wise due to my own stupidity and came really close to a personal bankruptcy. 5 months and 2 weeks in the job I got a call from the owner of a company I had assisted working at that company I sued. He was so happy about what I did for them back then and wanted to know if I was interested to come work for them. By then I was so sick of the old job and with 2 weeks left on my trial period (which in Belgium means both parties can pretty much terminate the working agreement per direct) I left.

The rest of the story went a lot better job/money wise, unfortunately not health wise. Due to the stress, laziness and a lot of other shit, I indulged myself with pretty much anything I wanted (food-wise that is). With my girlfriends illness to go trough we both didn't care about what we ate and ordered a lot of pizza and whatnot, we had to much other things to go through. Unfortunately almost 2 months ago I realized that I was about to pass the 130kg on the scale (and not in the good direction!). We talked about this and given the fact that we are both fighting against weight we decided we were gonna try healthyfying up our life.

About a month and a half later I'm proud to say that we are both still eating very healthy every day. I stopped eating candy, chips and all the other junk. No more takeout, no more pizza, no more soda. I have one vice left so far... We have a SodaStream to make our own sparkling water and I really like the sirop in there. Sure there are a lot of light variants, but yeah. In this time, I've lost almost 5kg.

So yeah... how will this continue? I guess we'll see!

September 24, 2011

One more Apple please!

I caved... I utterly, completely and fully caved. I am now entirely convinced that Mac's are the way to go for me. After starting out with an iPad, which was a christmas gift from my boss last year, I evolved to using Airport Express for wifi, to the Macbook Air and now as a piece de resistance: A brand new iMac!

I got at the point I was so sick of the entire shit-with-everything on a windows PC (the cables, the issues), that I just upgraded my old desktop to an iMac. 

Even though I still get a "Huh?!" feeling with some things I have to admin that overall, the Mac does what I want a lot better than a windows PC. Only one thing that is really annoying: It's too quiet! Sometimes when I'm doing a lot of things at once and they (iMac and the MacBook, "editor's note") are too busy you don't hear them doing anything. I always doubt whether they crashed or not :)

But there you have it folks, another convert.

August 10, 2011

Can I have an Apple?

After a lot of encouragement attempts from my boss and the release of MacOS Lion, which seemed to have a lot of cool features to me, I finally caved and asked for a MacBook @ work. Today was the day I got it: a brand new, shiny, metallic Mac Book Air 13". 

As a die hard Windows person I have to say that I was a bit overwhelmed by how different things are on a Mac. Even though I wanted my boss to be wrong so badly, I have to admit that I'm starting to like this stuff better and better!

August 09, 2011

Who am I?

In case you didn't know yet, my name is Steve. I currently work as a web developer. Love the job but it is kind of stressy. Our company has offices in a couple of countries and a part of my team is based in Romania. We travel to the other office regularly so there's always shit going on :)

Personally... I'm Joe-next-door. Far from the easiest person to deal with but it has improved over the course of the years. 
My life is brightened up on a daily bases by my girlfriend Sandy. We've been together for about 13 months now and it's been a heavy road already. Heavy in the sense that about 7 months in our relation she was diagnosed with breast cancer. At this point we are still fighting against it, but as I see it, everything is going really well. The cancer was removed completely during the operation, chemo was next and soon radiation. For people who wish to know more about that, you can checkout her blog. So as you can imagine this is not the easiest thing for a new couple, but we are still together and I love her more than ever (but don't tell her that! :P)

August 08, 2011


Why oh why?

So yeah... Why another blog you might ask? Aren't there enough out there already. To be honest, there are! But this blog is more for myself than for others. I just wanted a spot where I could write down the things on my mind, stuff I like, basically a sort of a life's journal. Seems like fun to someday read back the old posts and ponder on how life was then :)