My first Year with Fitbit

Last week  I received an email from Fitbit to tell me my stats for the past year.

My flexible friend was a Christmas Gift in 2013 and I knew I had walked over 1000 miles and worn out a pair of trainers but my stats were really quite surprising.

In 2014 I walked 1128 miles and 2552,528 steps.  Now when I was teaching I know I moved about 13,000 steps every school day and that would have been no surprise to me. Once I stopped that and life revolved around the home office and the garden I knew pretty soon I was in trouble. My stamina and endurance had gone and the pounds began to pile on. In late 2012 and all of 2013 I was trying to go for a walk every day and building extra walks into my daily life.

It’s true what they say about every little helping if you park the car at bottom of car park and get off the bus a stop early. I have even walked round the malls in Abu Dhabi to get my daily Fitbit fix (nice and cool in there). In fact the hotel manager was the first other person I saw wearing a Flex band!  I walked up and down the hill in my sister’s housing estate  in South Africa and along the pristine sand at Kersbosstrand.

Mostly though I just walk down the town and back via the beautiful seafront we are blessed with in Seaford or over the golf course into the South Downs National Park.  A trip to London or Brighton is a reason for a longer walk. Down to the station and back then London Park and city walks with a friend plus great conversation and coffee and lunch stops are my favourite easily clocking up over  6 miles in a day.

Tide Mills round walkstats

Tide Mills round walkstats

As a successful weight loss maintaining member of MyFitnessPal I was encouraged by  very active long term pal to join the monthly Move Your @ss Challenge  aka MYAC and over the year  have gradually increased my monthly goal (we only challenge ourselves so no major hassles there)

The Fitbit community itself was an eye opener. No sooner had I said hello in the over 60s section when I got loads of friend requests from people doing 20K plus steps a day. My 6k or 7k would leave me at the bottom of their chart and feeling superior so it seemed given they sent taunts! …so I soon knocked that on the head.

It seems there is a similar though younger element on UK Fitbit Fanatics on Facebook where up to 50K steps a day are being paraded by non runners. Sorry good for you, but I don’t find that very encouraging!  Another good thing though is there seems to be plenty of young mums pushing their buggies for miles.

I did discover a sensible shopping voucher earning system through that called www.Bounts.it and I have already earned £5 for doing what I do already. If you want to join use my code brett1102 to get a bonus and I will get one too. It connects to Runkeeper, MapMyWalk, Strava, Garmin  etc too and can be used in some gyms and strikes me as  a cost effective way to incentivise  and get the obese more active without costing the NHS more than the price of a Flex band. I mentioned this to the consultant at this week’s hospital appointment and she thought it was a great idea.

The Accuracy of all these smart devices has been called into question lately and yes there is a slight discrepancy between Mapmywalk and Fitbit with the former measuring distance as slightly longer; but my point is does it matter if it gets idle people like me moving?

Me with a Sports injury? You are having a laugh!

If anyone had told me a couple of weeks ago I would get a sports injury I would have said you are having a laugh. If anyone had told me I could get one from walking I would have laughed even louder. My dear departed dad simply would not have believed that I – the most unsporty person in the world could succumb to this.
After 15 months of walking alternate days and then nearly every day and raising my distance from a mile to 2-3 usually I am dismayed to find that this has proved too stressful for my knees. When I was teaching I used them for far more hours than I do now; walking round my classroom all day long with countless trips up and down those stairs. So why has this happened now I have to time to enjoy the countryside, clouds and seascape when I go out for an hour every afternoon?
To cut a long story short I felt my knee give way and start to hurt when I was walking by the river in Dusseldorf a couple of weeks ago and after trying to ignore it and rest it I finally went to see the doc. It turns out I have sprained a ligament and now have to take anti- inflammatory meds (NSAIDS) for a month plus wear a support when I walk at slow pace only. No more Leslie Sansone speedy walks for me then at the moment. Grump!
So off I go to Boots where I wait for 20 minutes for my prescription and then a nice woman takes me into the booth to measure me for the support. She saw the bruise on my other knee and got confused as that one is fine! I turned out to be size medium 13 plus inches all round. The support is not supplied on the NHS which is a bit off but luckily they were on offer. It is not exactly attractive either!

My very elegant (not) knee support

My very elegant (not) knee support

I now feel sorry for all the proper sports people who have to wear these things as they really pinch and are very uncomfortable and that’s even before you try and walk in them. SO….have just been for my first walk with a very bad grace , trying to avoid hills and inclines which left me strolling round bungalow land in the afternoon gloom. Not my usual uplifting walk by the sea. I suppose I will get used to it- it’s a case of having to as I am only half way through this months walking challenge (65 miles if anyone wants to know) which is the longest one I have ever tried.
I am not giving up though. I am still planning a long walk on Boxing Day back home from Tide Mills.

‘Best Before’ and ‘Use by’ Confusion

When I was teaching the students were always confused about ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates. As we know best before means things are still edible and safe  just not at their ‘best’ There are probably numerous things in my pantry  like this including Marmite dated best before September 2011 but I can’t say I have noticed any difference in it and with that amount of salt it will probably last forever.

However why on earth do the supermarkets put ‘Best before’  on bags of potatoes and apples? They last for months if stored properly and no potatoes do not need to be  in the fridge gah!  More than once I have had to stop a child throwing them in the bin  even though they all looked perfect.

I would tell them that ‘Use by’ is an instruction applying only to high protein foods and although I would not eat meat and fish past its date (well maybe bacon if it smells OK) –it will have been frozen in my house by the time it gets near- none of this freeze on day of purchase nonsense from the supermarkets which I believe they are going to alter.

Today I noticed the last of my Greek yogurt is out of date- 6 days in fact but I ate some yesterday with no ill effects  -though smells fine but decided to use it up in scones.

Mix the yogurt with a little water to loosen it, make the scones half spelt half white flour , brush with yogurt mix and dip into seeds. Bake 10 minutes on 230C for a lovely soft textured treat.

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Food Waste monitoring

Yesterday’s press on the vast amount of food wasted in the UK from supermarkets and our overbuying due to BOGOFs /poor management has left me wondering how we got to this stage.

As a child of the 1950s growing up as rationing finished and with parents who has been Depression children; food waste was not something I was used to. My mum’s family  had  to rely on the Salvation Army to help out in 1920s Salford. My dad was a country boy brought up on the plain cooking my grandma had learned  in service  with home grown  vegetables and basic proteins supplemented by the rabbits  granddad’s  ferrets caught. Those habits were ingrained in me- clear the plate and use up left overs or suffer dad’s wrath.  I can even remember being made to sit all lunch hour over the chocolate pudiding and custard served in infant school the smell of which made me heave and I never gave in and ate it!

Turn the clock on 40 years its the 1990s  and I am Teaching food Technology in an outer  London suburb. We begin to notice the children leaving behind all sorts of ingredients they have not used with words like ‘ my mum says she does not want it’ . By the time I retired in 2011 my catering fridge always had a stock of cheese, butter, eggs, half packs of meat (which we would freeze for another day) also sorts of vegetables and a cupboard full of flour, rice pasta, cans, herbs and spices all left behind without so much as a thought as to how much this all cost. Rarely was anything thrown away- students who had forgotten ingredients could be helped out and the budget for staff demonstrations was reduced.

Since moving to Seaford I no longer have a massive fridge so have to think even more carefully about how much I buy as storage is a problem. Gone are the big packs of veggies and wide variety I was used to. Local shopping facilities limit me to be far more creative in what I buy and cook.  The council collect food waste weekly so I have decided to monitor what we do throw away apart from peelings (as the compost heaps are about to be moved and cannot be used at present)  and ways I use up food nearing the end of its life.

So this is my last week’s food waste- fits into the small bin nicely- and transfers to the Council bin about 2 inches thick- all fruit and vegetable peelings plus teabags. There is one small mouldy green pepper in there from a large pack I have to keep in the pantry now no room in fridge.

So who else is going to monitor their food waste this week?

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