What 7kgs of books looks like

I’ve blogged on and off about the fitness regime this year, and so far it’s basically going to target. After watching the scales for the last 6 months, I have become accustomed to my new weight, but I wanted a comparison to compare it to my weight at the of the year. So what better thing to use that some of my heavy reference manuals, to see what the difference in books would be.

15.5lbs or 7.1 kgs of books

It’s hard for me to think that I carried that weight unnecessarily around with me every day. These 6 books represent what I’ve lost in the last 25 weeks by being a little bit healthier and a lot more active. Visualising weight accurately is harder than you think. Like how many laptops do you weight ? How many books does your chair weigh ? How many chairs would weight the same as a table. It’s interesting to do these conversions as it helps us understand these numbers in more tangible everyday terms.

The next challenge ? Is to do the Munich Stadtlauf 10km in under an hour, it’s on June 24th.

Tasty Chicken Dish

Recently we tried a great recipe, and I thought I share our great results. We had General Tso’s Chicken and with a little bit of broccoli it was indeed a very tasty meal. Lauren is really good at finding these recipes, and what’s great about this one is that it’s a lot healthier than the battered and fried version. As we are on a bit of a healthy kick at the moment this tasty baked alternative worked well, and if I’m perfectly honest it was nicer than the fried version. It’s an easy recipe and well worth a try.

Getting fit : how am I doing ?

3 months in to my plan on getting in shape, and things are coming along nicely. It’s been tough to keep motivated, but seeing the results for the hard work really motivates me to continue. Watching what you eat and avoiding alcohol is tougher than I thought, but I think these two factors really affect my weight loss.

Of course it’s not just all about weight loss, as I’ve started to do some weights sessions instead of just running, swimming & cycling. So there should be a increase in muscle, I hope. Just looking at weight loss alone is like having a 1-D view of things. Other metrics of progress can be the TI (total inches), energy levels, which in my case are also noticeably better.

Making it fun

I’ve started to like these mini training sessions, where I just take 1/2 an hour to do something. I just do enough to break out a sweat, and to sustain that for 10-15 minutes. The barrier to doing a session, from the time limit aspect, is reduced. Some days I can even get to do two of these. These I find better, and they fly by, especially when I listen to a favourite Mac podcast or take a phone call. It’s human nature to shy away from things that aren’t fun. By having this relatively low barrier to do something doesn’t give me much of an excuse not to do a session. We all have 30 minutes in the day to do something right ?

The Stats

February 2012
March 2012
The goal is to hit 74 kgs, so there is still a bit of work to go.

Banking of Ireland Phishing 365online.com

Following the TSB phishing email this morning we received yet another, this one pretending to be from http://www.365online.com , on closer inspection you can see that it directs your to a similar, but different,  domain name,  365ireland.com . This tactic is used by phishers quite often, sometimes they will use subdomains like 365online.ie.zzak.com Where you might not notice that the domain name is not right in your browsers’s address bar.

The BOI phishing email :

Dear Customer,

Your account has been temporarily limited.
To remove the limitation from your account
please confirm your credit card details on file.

For confirmation, please click the link below:

Sign In to 365online account (link removed).

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Thank you.

© Bank of Ireland is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland in Ireland.

Banks generally don’t email their customers, they tend to send letters via the post. So do be suspicious about any emails you get from banks ! This email seems to be sent to email addresses associated with Irish domain names. So we guess they’ve checked the WHOIS data for Irish domain names, and emailed those addresses linked with the domain name registration.

Checking that SSL is used

Before you submit any personal, sensitive, login data over the internet to your bank, or similar website, you should check that the connect is secure, and it’s connecting to where it says it is. For this reason you should check that SSL is being used, you will see HTTPS instead of HTTP in the URL address bar. Also companies will use a SSL certificate that will verify that the webpage is on the server it says it’s coming from.

TSB Phishing emails

There seems to be an increase in the number of phishing emails that are being sent at the moment, these are now targeting Irish banks, and could have serious implications if you get tricked by these phishing emails. Common sense would tell you that your bank would never email you, but I’m sure that if enough emails are sent that someone will get caught. If you’ve shared any private info about your bank account or yourself, you should contact the bank & the Gardaí straight away.

They seem to be targetting Irish email addresses, i.e. ones with a .ie  at the end.

Here is one we got today ‘from’ Permanent TSB, the from email address was : “Permanent TSB”<info@permanenttsb.ie> :

Dear Customer:

Permanent TSB is constantly striving to provide you with more convenience, control, and security to assist in managing your finances.

As part of our ongoing efforts to make it easier for you to use our online services, we have revised the Permanent TSB E-Sign Consent
and Online Access Agreement that you reviewed and accepted when you began to use Permanent TSB Online? or Permanent TSB Business Online? Banking service(s).

To review the changes, click on the links below:

  • E- Sign Consent (link removed)
  • Online Access Agreement (link removed)

Our Support Unit is carrying out a scheduled software update By following
the link Above you will start the procedure of the client login Reinstate.

These instructions are to be mailed and followed by all clients of the Permanent TSB.
Permanent TSB Service does apologize for the inconveniences caused to you, and is very appreciative for your cooperation.

If you are not customer of Permanent TSB Plc Service please ignore this notification!

***** This is an automated message, please do not respond *****? 2012 Permanent TSB. All Rights Reserve

EDIT: 1 further phishing email format, this time from Poland…

You have 1 important mail alert!

We strongly advise you should update your account and resolve the problem.

Click here to proceed

Failure to do this will lead to your account been suspended or de-activated.

Thanks for your co-operation.

Yours Sincerely

Permanent TSB Online Banking

January 2012 : Get Fit

As I posted a few weeks ago, I’m getting back on the getting fit vibe. It mostly entails going to the gym more often, and thinking more closely about portion sizes. It does take a quite few weeks to get into a rhythm of going to a gym. Starting is hard enough, but sticking with your plan is the real challenge.

Measuring Progress

How do you measure that you are getting fitter ? Tim Ferris, in the 4 Hour Work Body, talks about TI, or total inches, which is possibly a better way to see if you are getting fit and in shape. Basically you measure your arms, legs, waist & chest, and sum up all the numbers to get your TI number. Nonetheless tracking your weight will also show you your level of progress to a certain level of accuracy. There is of course a lower limit that this will approach, so you should also check out the chart for your ideal weight for your height. BMI is another metric that’s often thrown out, where anything under 25 is considered ‘healthy’. It’s calculated by the following forumla

BMI = ( Weight in Kilograms / ( Height in Meters x Height in Meters ) )

My January chart is displayed below, and as you can see I’m just on the tip of the overweight / ideal weight border.
January 2012
Overall I’m happy with the progress, but I don’t track my progress just by my weight. Other aspects like energy levels or time for a 5km run are other ways of seeing how you are progress.

Calorie Accountancy

I’ve harped on before about my plans to get fit, and well it’s been a bit of a struggle. Generally we are capable of starting out well, where it’s gets difficult is to stick to it on those days that you’re feeling tired, crappy, unmotivated, etc. Having a slimming buddy is one good strategy to keep you focused, especially if you don’t want to go down the road of an expensive personal trainer. That being said getting fit is an investment in yourself, and things like gym membership, runners and healthy food all cost money, and of course your time. Getting fit can be done on the cheap, but it’s certainly not free, and needless to say, the resulting benefits outway the cost.

So once again I will say that this is the year that I get fit. Who knows I might even push myself into doing a 10km run somewhere in the summer.

A look at 2011

Below is my weight chart from last year, and as you can see that when last July I posted my progess, I was on track to hitting the 75kg mark in September. But as you can see here, that really didn’t happen.

2011 Weight chart

The gray dots are some of the measured points, and the blue line is the average weight and predicted time I shall hit my goal.

You can see a lot of improvement in the early days & weeks, but after a while it started to slow down. The challenge here for me was to keep motivated and to push on, especially when I was starting to see some real results. You can see here that towards the end of the summer the weight started to creep up. It probably wasn’t helped with being at the Oktoberfest 8 times either 😉

Also throw in the mix in November was a new scales, which miraculously added 2kgs to me. I updated from a mechanical scales to an electronic one, that also does body fat measurements & water weight.

While this result is a bit saddening, it’s also important to note that people’s weights do change in the seasons. It’s the same for athletes, they go through different cycles of building muscle and loosing fat and then recuperating. Now I’m not saying this is what I’ve done, but maybe some of the re-weight gain was due to this natural body craving to store up some fat for the winter.

Life Changes

Besides going to the gym, I’ve started to take a closer look at what I eat, and how much I eat. Portion control is key, and it comes back to the title, calorie accountancy. There is a simple formula to loosing weight, basically you need to use / expel more calories every day than you’ve consumed. If you can manage that, you will loose weight. There’s no magic secret to getting fit / loosing weight, it’s just you have to do it.

Useful Tools

In 2011 I started using the fantastic Weightbot app by Tapbots to record my weight. Generally I try to record at least 3 weights each week, with at least one at the weekend. During the year I picked up, and am still going through, Tim Ferris’ book the Four Hour Body on this recommendation.

I’ve also been inspired by some other people doing the same, reading Pat, Michele, Paul & James on twitter and their blogs has helped me to stay focussed, and has reminded me that there are indeed other people working hard to get fit out there, that I’m not the only one.

Back to the grinding stone

This year I’ve been hitting the gym a lot more often. For the past 3 weeks I’ve been going 4-5 times a week. The results have been good, I’ve lost 3kgs enough so far, but again it’s not the quick fixes that are needed. 74kgs is a more long term goal I know.

This year's progress

The plan for this year is to do at least a small update on my progress every 3 months. So see you in March !