Monday, August 24, 2015

SOTC 170/365

Red Hot (SOTC 170/365) 

"Sunset is still my favourite colour."
- Mattie Stepanek

Sunday, August 23, 2015

SOTC 169/365

Towards a Fiery Sunset (SOTC 169/365)

SOTC 168/365

The sky was pasty with clouds; I did not think a nice sunset was bound to happen, and had focused my camera towards other things. When I paused to stretch and turned around...

Pink Ribbons (SOTC 168/365)

SOTC 167/365

Leaves and Moss (SOTC 167/365)It smells fresh and earthy, as if I am somewhere on the West Coast; only the faint sound of traffic behind me gives my beautiful city away.

Monday, August 10, 2015

SOTC 166/365

Where Brick Meets Brick (SOTC 166/365)

Next Steps... All 10,000 of Them.

I don't think I can claim baseline anymore.

I've been using my Fitbit--and the app that goes with it--for nearly three months. This has given me plenty of data to start looking at my health habits and what may or may not need to change.

Of course, the simple act of tracking my steps, and logging my food and activities, means I've been making small changes from the get-go, just based on the day-to-day info the FitBit gave me. Never a true baseline when you're analyzing yourself. ;)

Here are some things that Fitbit has brought to light:

My step-count is still up and down depending on the day, but I've noticed that over time, the degree of fluctuation has become smaller, and this summer I've been able to hit 10,000 or close to it more often.

Taking care of my niece and her dog was the easiest way to ensure 10,000 steps. When I was taking care of P, we'd often go for a walk in the morning and in the evening. The other aunty and I found this held much benefit for all four of us.* Admittedly, it's taken some concerted effort to get to 10,000 steps outside of those two weeks. More on that in a bit.

In terms of food, I've learned that I eat most of my calories at lunch.
I've learned that Timbits have less calories than I thought.
I've learned that cookies have more.

I've also learned that in general, my calorie intake is about half-and-half; half the time I go over what Fitbit deems to be my ideal daily intake, and half the time I'm under or "in the zone." I don't have big ambitions to lose weight; I'm at a healthy weight as it is--I would just like to keep it there. When I'm over the recommended intake for the day, it's generally only by about 100-150 calories. Which is kinda reassuring, if mildly aggravating. But by the time I'd be logging my bedtime snack at 11pm, I'd be in no position to go for a 20-min walk around the neighbourhood; I was ready for bed.

In terms of what I'm actually consuming...
  • I am right on par with the recommended consumption of sodium (I actually thought I'd be way over).
  • My average potassium intake is significantly below the maximum (I only consume about 1/4 of the max).
  • My calcium intake is about half of what it should be. Hmm...
  • My sugar intake is about 4x what it should be (not good, but still better than I thought it would be, believe it or not; I have a wicked sweet tooth).
  • I'm somewhat short on fibre.
  • My cholesterol is really good.*
So, overall, not a bad 'report card.' But it's got me thinking about improving and maintaining, especially with autumn coming--back to sitting at a desk, and eventually, the cold, dark days of winter.

I've stopped tracking my meals, because the overall quantity I'm consuming seems to be okay, and it's actually quite the time-consuming commitment to log everything I put into my mouth. I need to consider my sugar and fibre intake, but I'm going to look at that more in terms of what I'm eating, not how much.

What I want to focus on first is my step count. Like I said, it's been... challenging to get to 10,000 steps each day without a child, a dog, or trips to big-box stores.

I've conquered embedding small amounts of extra steps here and there. I park further away from buildings. I choose walk-in over drive-through banking. I pace the house while I brush my teeth.

I notice the benefits of walking more, but it hasn't become routine. I still compare. Would I like to take a half-hour walk, or spend a half-hour in my hammock with a good book? Or put in a half-hour of overtime that I can flex later to travel? Or take a half-hour nap because I'm not a morning person and this morning kicked me in the butt? ...The walk doesn't always win. And I even like walking! I think--in part--I'm stuck in a mindset of needing a more tangible purpose in my walking--catching up with a friend, taking books back to the library, an organized photo walk. I need to start reframing the activity so that I view increased health and wellness as the tangible purpose that it actually is. And so begins my challenge.

What do you do to increase your steps? Perhaps I'll try those ideas

* we may have parodied Charlotte Diamond's Four Hugs a Day with, "two walks a day, that's the minimum..." as we strolled down the trail!
** My doctor once told me once that my cholesterol levels were "enviable." Apparently, they still are.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

SOTC 165/365

Flecks on the Water (SOTC 165/365)

In the Calm of an Urban Morning (SOTC 164/365)

In the Calm of an Urban Morning

Train School (SOTC 163/365)

My photography club had a meet-up at the Alberta Railway Museum last weekend. I hadn't even known this place existed until the event was planned. I am not one of those people who loves trains, but after spending a couple hours at the museum, I could start to get a sense of why there are some who are those people.

In my brain, I generally envision four kinds of train cars: engines, cabooses, passenger cars, and freight cars. It doesn't even cross my mind that of course there must be other types of cars to hold the people that keep a train running. At the museum, I moved in and out of all sorts of train cars that I'd never thought about or known existed: kitchen cars, bunker cars for train workers, cars for animals, office-type cars, and the medic/first aid car.

But this.

Train School I (SOTC 163/365)

I stepped in the back entry, and before I even came to the full realization of what I was looking at, I loved this car.

It's the instructional car.

Teaching happens here.

True, not the teaching of K-12 students. Workers would receive their training in this car. Which makes sense. Those of us who work in offices have board rooms, or attend conferences in hotels, to receive training. But if you're working on the Canadian National Railway, ever-moving across the country, where else would you go!?

I think part of the reason I love this car so much is that it's evidence of learning. I realized, in discovering this car, that I held some negative connotations towards the working environment of train employees--probably because of the way some of those who were employed to build railways were historically treated. I viewed working on the rails like working in mines--dirty, dangerous, underpaid, with uneducated employees.

Clearly that is not the case--at least here.

I stood in a space where learning happened, and my heart smiled.

SOTC 162/365

Baby wheat ;)

Wheat at Ellerslie (SOTC 162/365)

SOTC 161/365

I don't know what this flower is called, but it sure pops out against the canola (which pops out against the sky).

A Splash of Violet (SOTC 162/365)

SOTC 160/365

Mid-Day Nap (SOTC 160/365)

SOTC 159/365

He and I share the same favourite fruit, I guess...

Is He Going to Eat the Whole Thing? (SOTC 159/365)

SOTC 158/365

Inside the Willow I (SOTC 158/365)

Afternoon Nap (SOTC 157/365)

An Afternoon Nap (SOTC 157/365)
The pace of her summer has been reflective of the pace of mine: