Meds Reminder

With my last post I talked about having to take eye drops every hour when I’m awake and then an ointment for while I’m asleep. I thought it would be hard remember to put them in and keep track if I had done it for this hour yet or not so I wanted to set reminders for myself.

On my phone I have almost all notifications turned off but on my Fitbit I do get notified of phone calls or text messages. Very rarely do I get either of those so typically when I do it is something important. Instead of setting an alarm for every hour of the day I thought I could finally try out the Twilio trial I had signed up for some time ago and send myself a text message every hour from 6am to 10pm. It was surprisingly easy to setup.

I’m most familiar with php and I’ve been really limiting my screen time so I can rest my eyes. I haven’t worn my glasses in days so it’s a strain to read without them and keeping them closed is when they feel the best.

Here’s the very simple setup I did, most all of it came directly from the Twilio documentation and all of it was done from the terminal.

  1. Signup for a Twilio account.
  2. Create a new site on an existing hosting account I have.
  3. Downloaded the Twilio PHP SDK using Composer.
    I’m not really familiar with Composer but these are the commands I used:

    • Download Composer
      php -r "copy('https://getcomposer.org/installer', 'composer-setup.php');"
      php -r "if (hash_file('SHA384', 'composer-setup.php') === '544e09ee996cdf60ece3804abc52599c22b1f40f4323403c44d44fdfdd586475ca9813a858088ffbc1f233e9b180f061') { echo 'Installer verified'; } else { echo 'Installer corrupt'; unlink('composer-setup.php'); } echo PHP_EOL;"
      php composer-setup.php
      php -r "unlink('composer-setup.php');"
      
    • Download the SDK
      php composer.phar require twilio/sdk
  4. Create a new php file with the following code
    <?php
    require_once 'vendor/autoload.php';
    $sid = "ACxxxxxx"; // Your Account SID from www.twilio.com/console
    $token = "xxxxxx"; // Your Auth Token from www.twilio.com/console
    
    $client = new Twilio\Rest\Client($sid, $token);
    $message = $client->messages->create(
      '+15555555555', // Send text from this number
      array(
        'from' => '+15555555555', // From a valid Twilio number
        'body' => 'Take your drops'
      )
    );
    
    print $message->sid;
    
  5. Create a cronjob to run the hours you want and visit the webpage
    0 6-22 * * * wget -q --read-timeout=0.0 --waitretry=5 --tries=5 --background http://{url for file created above}

Now I get a text ever hour on the hour from 6am to 10pm and my FitBit notifies me that it’s time to put in the drops.

Stupidity and Laziness

Back in August 2014 I had reached a big milestone after a lot of hard work. I was so proud of myself and swore I would never go back. At that time I reached my goal weight of under 180lbs after months of hard work and dedication. Things went up and down from there but for a long time I stayed in pretty decent shape. In March 2016 I ran my longest distance ever, 20km. Since then though I’ve been on a pretty steady decline health wise and really broke the promise to myself. I’m getting pretty close to having put back on all the weight I worked so hard to lose in 2014.

For the past bit I’ve been in a pretty big funk, not myself, unhappy. This is a big part of that, though there are other factors of course. Most of them are beyond my control, but my health is solely mine to control. How could I be so stupid and lazy?

Today I went on the incredibly demoralizing task of organizing my closet. Over the past few months I’ve been slowly buying new clothes that fit because I’ve gotten too fat for the ones I had. My closet was getting overrun with clothes because I still had all the clothes that I should fit in but they were making their way to the back of the closet. So today I moved everything out that I no longer fit in and put them into storage under the bed. Time for things to change, again.

Instead of just keeping up with a pretty healthy eating plan and exercise I reverted back to my old ways and now need to go through all the hard work again. Of course as I get older that will likely be even harder than it was almost four years ago.

Last time I blogged and shared on social media constantly about my progress, how far I ran today etc. I won’t put people through that again, especially because it isn’t nearly as meaningful the second time around, but I’ll work hard anyway. I’ve ordered myself a new Fitbit to help me track progress and keep my honest. Last time that sort of tracking was really motivational, I just won’t publicize it so much.

So I’m getting started, again, and hopefully I’ll finally be smart enough to get off this weight roller coaster I’ve been on permanently.

Early Morning Run

Early Morning Run

This morning I was awake right about 5:30am because I had managed to get to bed at a decent time last night. It looked like a beautiful morning out even though it was a bit chilly I decided to start my morning the way I used to all the time.

Early morning used to be my favourite time to run but I had fallen away from that. Granted that used to be in the summer and warmer periods where it was pretty much light out already and I didn’t need a bunch of layers to stay warm. However this morning reminded me why I liked it so much. The world is still fairly still and quite that time of morning except for a few people likely making the commute to work. It also gives me quite time in the morning to just clear my head and start the day on a positive. The sky was very clear with the moon and the stars still out so the scenery was nice to take in as well.

Not sure I’ll keep this up especially as the weather gets even colder, but if I do it’s also a great way to get my Fitbit steps in. This morning before 7:30 am I had over 8000 steps in!

Fitbit Observations

So far I’ve been wearing my Fitbit for almost three weeks and have come up with a few interesting observations about it. For the most part I really enjoy tracking everything and having a record, but at the same time there have been parts which have been depressing.

My water intake is really good, I drink plenty each day without even trying. I get more sleep than I thought I did, but I’m not confident in the awake restless times it tracks. It could be something that is built into me from all those years of pretending I was still asleep in the morning so I could get five more minutes before school. Now I’m so good at it Fitbit can’t tell I’m really awake.

There have been a few instances where the GPS when tracking runs has been off by a bit, but nothing enough or frequently enough that will stop me from going to it only for tracking my runs soon.

The biggest observation which I’ve make that is depressing is the lack of movement I do in the run of a day if I don’t specifically force myself to do something extra. Most days I’ll go for a run. A 5k run typically takes me about 30 minutes and I get about 5000 steps in during that time. The rest of the day combined, especially on days I’m working, I struggle to get that other half by the end of the day. If I don’t run it is almost impossible.  The other thing is it is far to easy for me to go grab something extra to eat that I don’t really need.

If I don’t watch myself every single day and be extra vigilant it is now very easy to see why my weight can go up so quickly. Since starting to track I haven’t really lost any weight, but I haven’t gone up either. To get down to where I want to be I’m going to have to cut out the snacks all together and focus on moving even more. It’s probably about time Jillian Michaels and I get reacquainted again.

Fitbit vs Runkeeper

For the past few days when I’m out running I’ve been tracking my runs with both Runkeeper and my new Fitbit Surge. Even if I was extremely happy with Fitbit’s tracking I would still be doubling up with Runkeeper at least until the end of the year when my goal is reached.

The first day I ran with the Fitbit I was impatient and didn’t wait for it to find GPS and hit quick start. It seemed to be taking a really long time to find and I just wanted to go. Since then I’ve waited for it to connect to GPS before starting out though. Today I started both Runkeeper and the Fitbit within seconds of each other and the results were pretty off. It looks like Fitbit didn’t really have a good GPS signal after the first km it seemed to catch up and track things properly.

You can see the difference between the maps above, Runkeeper on the right is pretty much bang on what I ran. Fitbit on the left should have started the same place as the ending is marked.

Has anyone else had issues with the GPS in their Surge? It’s not a really big deal, but I’d like to be able to depend on one and so far I love everything else about the Surge so I would like it to be it.

Getting Close

Sometime this week I will be hitting my goal of 500km in running. I’m really excited and even though it isn’t really a lot compared to many runners, some weeks it has been a battle to get my 25km in that I needed.

This past week was one of them. I had started out with great intentions to get ahead for the week by running 10km but that didn’t work out. Shortly after starting I had to turn around because I wasn’t feeling well. Self inflicted by eating to much bad food. That caused me to pretty much get all my running in from Wednesday onward. I ran two 10k’s and a 5k with a rest day on Thursday. I much prefer to spread thing a out more but it felt good doing two 10k’s in a week.

Because of that, and the new FitBit, I’ve been doing much better at eating well this week, especially these last two days. It’s been motivation for me to track what I’m eating again. As much as I dislike doing that, with FitBit it is easy and it really keeps me accountable.

Stepping It Up With FitBit

Today I jumped on the FitBit band wagon. Only I won’t actually be on the wagon because that won’t up my step count 🙂

This is either going to be a real good thing for me or a bad one. This could be the push and the motivator for me to get back on track. It could also make me a bit obsessive. It put it on around 4:00pm today and was at times walking laps around the main floor of the house just to make it to 5000 steps. 

I also started tracking my food and water intake as well. At least I drink enough water. I tried eating well today and still ended up way over the calories. Tomorrow I’ll do better and I’ll also burn more calories. 

The FitBit is one of the newest benefits from Automattic which is amazing. We have a group setup and I know there is no way that I’ll keep up with some of my coworker leaders but it will be good motivation to try. 

I’m looking forward to trying out the run tracking on it tomorrow and seeing how many steps I get on a regular full day. 

  

Fitbit vs Pebble

For quite a while now I’ve really enjoyed my first generation Pebble watch. Right before we went on vacation the strap broke on it.

I picked up a new strap but I couldn’t find one the right size so I choose the closest I could find. It was 20mm when it really should be 22mm. This allows enough wiggle room that the strap kept coming off. At one point early in the trip I thought I lost the watch. Turns out it fell off as I was digging in my backpack and it was in there. That was my sign though that I needed to take it off.

The rest of the trip I went without it. So no notifications came in at all and it was pretty peaceful. I keep the sound and vibration off on my phone already so I relied on the watch.

What did I miss? Especially when I’m out I did miss getting phone and text notifications. I get very few of these and typically when I do they are important. The email and other notifications I don’t care about anymore. Not having the time in easy view was annoying too. I didn’t wear a watch for a long time before this watch but now I miss having the time there. It didn’t come into play on vacation but I really like the silent alarm as well. 

For a long time I’ve also wanted to get a Fitbit, but wearing two things on my wrist wasn’t going to work for me. When I was running more, like I need to get doing again, I loved tracking my runs. Having a Fitbit would allow me to track that and a lot more as well. The Surge looks very interesting to me. At first look it seems like it would do everything I’m looking for. 

The big downfall is the price. Pretty sure I might get in trouble spending that much on another gadget. I could go with a lower end Fitbit and not have things like the notifications and not have some of the tracking. The Charge might be the happy medium. I get most of what I’m looking for and could use my phone to track workouts. I might even be able too get away with the cost. If I could sell the Pebble that would help me even more. 

Does anyone have opinions one way or the other?