Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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I have used a Fitbit for tracking my movement and sleep for years. Recently the battery has started to lose the charge very quickly, indicating end of life issues for my tracker. I thought about just going without it, but decided to re-enlist by purchasing a Fitbit 2, which is waterproof. I have slacked on recording much of the data on the app since my life is going well. To get the most out of my new device I will put it to full use b giving it data. It is easy to record water and foods consumed in the log. By being lazy at the data recording I fail to notice how I can improve on my dietary habits. This is the simplest step to better health and yet I am not doing it. There are logs for resting heart rate and hours of sleep which I have ignored for over a year. When I needed help with my sleep the knowledge gained from my monitor was of supreme help. I found ways to sleep longer and more deeply by watching my statistics carefully. Once I conquered my sleep issues I stopped recording the data.
I did get a good deal on my new fitness tracker, but it will only be a good deal if I use it to the fullest benefit. I do not accept friends or do challenges with the app, but think I will be healthier if I pay attention to the diet/sleep/water/calorie intake/weight data. When the new apparatus arrives my plan is to give it all the information it can process. If we are fitness partners there is no point in trying to hide from my own truth. Fitness and health are complex issues. They are influenced by habits and social norms. We know what is healthy and good for our bodies, but must practice awareness to stay in a healthy groove. Fitbit 2 will be on my team, but I am still the leader of my own wellness program. Do you use a fitness tracker, gentle reader? Have you been faithful to logging all the data, or have you been a slacker like me?
My research into family history started after both my parents had died. They each left some written material about their families, but neither parent had been particularly interested in genealogy. My father said he was Scots-Irish, which is in part true. Both parents had ancestors who immigrated to America from the British Isles in the 1600s. The DNA survey on ancestry shows that my DNA is 85% from Great Britain. When the survey was much younger and fewer participants had contributed my ethnicity was estimated at 99% from the British Isles. My “trace region” is the Caucasus area of Asia. The Asian genes may be a fluke, as explained in the accompanying material.
I am sure about the first three generations I have listed, but my maternal grandmother was an orphan adopted in Mississippi in a county where the courthouse burned to the ground. We have no way to find records of her natural parents. She moved to Texas with her adoptive family. Some of the branches are easy to research and verify. Others have me at dead ends. My most irksome dead end is my third great-grandfather, Thomas Peterson, born in Indiana in 1825. I keep looking for answers about his parentage but have not found any records of his birth. More official historical records are digitally added all the time, so I could still find something new that would break the case for me. It bugs me that I can trace his nephew’s line back in time, but not Thomas’.
Along the way I have discovered my own mistakes, and have also had problems pointed out to me by other ancestry enthusiasts. It is always a drag to find errors because it means you need to remove the phantom family and start again at the point you can verify the data. I have lost a few big limbs this way. I had become fond of many of the members of my unverified people. It is funny to give them up with such great emotion, since they were not really my ancestors, but I can tell you that this feels awful. I still think about them in history too. Sometimes I am angry that I made such mistakes in my research, but usually I am glad I met them (historically) and held them in my memory. When my first cousin gave me the news that I had the wrong John Taylor as my 3rd great-grandfather I was very upset. I had to admit that she had a point. This involved chopping down a limb that I had built back to the middle ages in England, with many illustrious stories along the way. Alas, they were all built on specious data. Now I am back to Jonathan Aaron Taylor, who fought in the Revolutionary War and was discharged in South Carolina..not born there. I suppose I am happy to have him even though he is not who I thought he was.
Jonathan Aaron Taylor (1760 – 1820)
John Samuel Taylor (1798 – 1873)
son of Jonathan Aaron Taylor
William Ellison Taylor (1839 – 1918)
son of John Samuel Taylor
George Harvey Taylor (1884 – 1941)
son of William Ellison Taylor
Ruby Lee Taylor (1922 – 2008)
daughter of George Harvey Taylor
I am the daughter of Ruby Lee Taylor
Have you ever attempted an ancestry study? It is really easy now that Ancestry.com is there to guide you. Just be careful as you roam around in that data. Not all of it can be verified, especially the family trees. Don’t copy another person’s data until you examine it carefully for errors. The ancestors have much to teach us..and one of the lessons is VERIFY your facts before you swallow them whole. Save yourself the heartache of saying good-bye to bogus relatives.
During my month as a poet I lost count of calories. They (the calories) did not forget about me. The extras have lodged themselves around my waist, as my jeans alerted me this week. I need to get back on track, and Fitbit has improved my ability to do so. This morning Fitbit informed me that since our relationship began I have walked 1,997 miles, which means now I am over 2000 miles charted, graphed and tracked for my information.
While I have been wearing the device my needs have changed over time, and my involvement with recording data has varied from close attention to nothing. I used to record my water drinking and all my food, as well as my water exercise when the Fitbit was not on my wrist. My enthusiasm for this lagged and my need to get sounder sleep became the most urgent need I had. During our time of doggie hospice last year I had to get up many times during the night, and I was very upset about the end of our dog’s life. My sleep, usually my finest talent, had gone to hell. The sleep recording feature of my device became a real help as I tried different methods of improving my sleep. I figured out that honey before bed and during the night when I let the dog out seriously helped the ability to rest soundly.
Now I am back to being a star sleeper, but need to get back on track with a healthy weight loss program. New aspects of the feedback are helping me do that very effectively. In order to decrease the evils inflicted upon us by the sedentary life the new rule is to move at least 250 steps each hour. My daily goal is 10,000 steps, so obviously I need to move more than 250 steps some hours. The reminder to log those 250 steps gets me up from my desk or the evening news and gets me to move. It only takes about 2 minutes to take 250 steps. I find that once I have started to move I end up moving for at least 1000 steps before returning to my seat. At the end of the day there is a very helpful chart with active versus sedentary time spent. At 11:30 am I show 37% active and 63% stationary. I also can see a comparison between todays active total and my 30 day average. In the past when I finished my daily goal I felt free to let sloth take over the agenda for the rest of my day. Now I feel the need to get my 250 steps every hour and move that ratio of active/stationary in favor the more movement.
There is news on the calorie front as well. The dashboard now calculates not only the calories burned but also calories left to be burned. If food is logged there is also a comparison of calories consumed vs those burned. This is why I need to begin to record my diet again. I find it very helpful to see how many calories I still need to use to come out even for the day. Right now, although I have finished 10,605 steps, my calories are not yet half used…1,098 burned, 1380 still remain to be spent. New research shows that short intense blasts of exercise achieve much more than had previously been believed. I have new thoughts on this matter. I am going to concentrate on making sure I get in 250 steps during my waking hours, with an emphasis on sprinting. I think what is best for my body is a hard aerobic sprint every hour, and I now have the tools to remind me and reward me for this behavior. I am highly motivated by charts. Lucky me. I plan to sync my data as well as my attention to Fitbit for the greatest benefit. Do you use a tracking device, gentle reader? What do you like best about it?
We are pretending that the data analysts of the world are geeks and, therefore, benign. How silly can we be? My own father jumped from slide rule to mainframe computer just to get bigger data. The rest of his life was consumed by the opportunity to get more and bigger data. He taught petroleum engineering students how to analyze big data to manage oil fields. He was recruited by IBM in the late 1950’s to be a believer. Data was the future and the future was bigger data.
My parents and all their petroleum friends around the world distinguished themselves by the mass quantities of alcohol they consumed. They liked Ike, war, cars, and cocktails. I never saw them as particularly in touch with reality. They were, in their day, the big science data mangers trusted to produce energy for the planet. They were distinctly reckless, especially my father. He adored fracking and exploding stuff of all kinds. In his 60’s he became a reckless hot air balloonist, risking the lives of many to get his kicks. I am not saying they were evil..not at all. They were lots of fun, and popular for their party antics. What I am saying is that humans handle the data, and I suspect each person attracted to this kind of power (of geekiness and arcane knowledge) of wanting to pervert the universe. I see the greatest generation as having used science to do much damage. I think the Boomers will not be remembered so well in data history either. Control of politics and data has turned into a giant Red Rover dare. Protecting all the various digital borders is now impossible, so cyberinfo is a volatile hacking paradise.
Now there is so much data nobody has any idea how to manage it, let alone isolate the people ethical enough to handle it. This whole idea and verbiage of leak is indicative of the problem. We now have such a complex web of data moving non stop that leaks of all kinds are inevitable. People will now devote their lives and fortunes to creating and finding leaks of important data. The data came from Pandora’s box, but it is much too big to be contained now. We let it all out, then we dare Big Brother to come over. I witnessed first hand the people who conquered the oil fields with data and science. They suffered from intense ignorance. We do too. It is not the tool, but the user,who makes the decisions, who has the power to change the outcome. I am not so worried about NSA wasting time analyzing my data as I am about all misdirected data studies everywhere. This data smuggling and whistle blowing has only just begun, gentle reader. We have a tangled web of growing data to interpret, store and hide.