My brain is bereft of topics to write about today, so I thought I would keep it simple and just ask one question: what brought you to my blog today (or on previous days)? Was there a specific topic that you saw that caught your eye? Do you enjoy my writing? Inquiring minds (well, just one) want to know!
I was recently introduced to MyFitnessPal’s Calorie Intake Report as a means for tracking progress with my weight goals. I already subscribe to the notion of CICO – Calories In, Calories Out – but have had middling success implementing it in day-to-day life. I understand how it works and everything, but my weight is fluctuating up and down constantly (which is expected, since I’ve been less than disciplined with my eating habits since Christmas/New Year’s).
Looking at my weight over a 90 day period, I’ve mostly made progress that I’m happy with. It’s the up and down business of the last month and a half that I could do better with. For a solid two months from November to December, I was hitting all of my goals every week. Since then, I’ve not had the best results.
So I looked up my own Calories Consumed report. Immediately, I can see why I was set up to fail by my own habits.
The red line isn’t the most accurate – as my goal hasn’t been the same over 90 days; it’s actually gone down quite a bit, so some of the “high” days are probably closer to their target than they appear.
Still, I can clearly see where I faltered. Yes, there are some days there that are showing way under my calorie goal, but I’ll be the first to admit that there are many days where I under-reported my calories. A common theme for those days – and I know this is true – I often overate or was too lazy to figure out how many calories I ate. I have a streak of 376 days – most are legitimate log entries, but I probably shouldn’t have such a long streak going.
In fact, I was going to let that streak die today. I was sitting eating my lunch, leftover from dinner out last night, and hadn’t yet entered anything for breakfast, or my daily weight check-in. I was mentally prepared to take a “skip” day, and let the streak die. Take the weekend off. I know MFP would probably send me a notification, gently reminding me that if I don’t login before midnight, my streak will end!
I was okay with that. Ready to start a new streak, or at the very least get into a new rhythm.
But then I read that reddit thread above in /r/loseit (which is a fantastic resource, by the way!). Consciously I know that my weight fluctuates constantly, and I’m not hung up on the day-to-day number – I just keep it because I’m tracking my numbers independently of MFP, so I don’t need to pay to extract my own data. But looking at my progress this way aligns more with what I’m trying to accomplish with my weight loss efforts.
I’m trying to keep to a weekly calorie goal; this is easy in theory, but MyFitnessPal forces you to track daily. I think keeping tabs on the calorie intake report (which I can pull for 7 days), and adding a column to my chart to include how many calories I’ve had vs my goal, will help me better manage my CICO efforts.
I’m going to wait until Monday to put this practice in full force, because I want to have 7 days’ worth of uninterrupted data to match with my tracking dates. But I’m going to modify my weight loss chart as of February 27th – as I’ve already written it out until the 26th. I don’t like scrapping perfectly usable tables.
Working toward a healthier life is a complete lifestyle change, and it’s hard. It’s well worth examining what’s working and what’s not working, and constantly changing for the better. For me, what works best is to analyze things as soon as I start to hit a plateau or steadily climb the opposite direction on the scale without fluctuating up and down.
I don’t think I will ever stop monitoring what I’m doing. I hope one day I will be a little more relaxed about it, but I know that not being careful at all was what piled on the weight in the first place. It’s all a matter of finding the right balance, in the end.
I’m always trying to think of ways to earn extra money – my goal for things like my podcast is to be able to run it without spending any of my own money. So far, I haven’t been able to do that. At most, I’ve been able to pay for my Netflix subscription and 1 year of hosting for www.alternativeairwaves.com with proceeds from SwagBucks (I typically get ~$25 a month, but it’s slow, grinding work).
One thing I used to do – and I honestly can’t figure out where I found the work before – was freelance writing. The stuff I was doing, I really didn’t like that much. But it was relatively easy work, and got me I think $20 for 5 articles (which in retrospect, was not very good pay). I should probably dig up what I wrote to put a portfolio together, even though I have no idea where the things I wrote showed up online. This was probably 9-10 years ago, too.
But writing is just about the only marketable skill I can think of to sell online. I wish sometimes that I just had something I could do in 5-10 minutes and sell for $10 a pop. But I just don’t have the creative, physical skills. I’ve considered audio-related things, but sometimes that takes longer than what it’s worth. If I applied myself, I could probably put together a podcast editing portfolio. I just don’t usually have the time to provide the turnaround some podcast hosts require.
What kind of things have you done online to generate some extra cash? Or in the parlance of the Internet, “beer money”? Any suggestions for what I could do? Just looking to find work to generate $25-50 a month that isn’t so tedious as surveys and offers that pay cents at a time.
Let’s talk about ads! Not the science behind marketing, blah blah blah. Smarter people than me can take care of that conversation. Instead, I want to talk about ads in general, and things that are ad-supported.
The topic that brought this to mind was a recent post on /r/podcasts about sponsors. It was what you’d call on Reddit, a “shitpost” – a low-effort post with nothing to say. From that spawned an actual discussion at least, with opinions being split between supporting ads and being vehemently against them. Personally, I’m okay with them, and here’s why.
Full disclosure – I work in an industry that relies on advertising to generate revenue (radio). I am slightly biased, but not for the reason of perpetuating a source of revenue / income.
I am a podcast creator myself; I don’t use ads in my show, but rather rely on a Patreon campaign. However, I understand the need for ads to offset production costs. I have made a conscious choice to not skip ads for a product I am downloading for free. I do not make the financial decision to donate, so I don’t want to cheat the creators out of ads that they feel are necessary to support their craft.
I understand that listening to ads on a podcast is not an act in itself that will bring them money. This is more of a moral decision on my part. But in a similar vein, I also decided to disable adblockers in my browser so that websites I frequent benefit from my ad views. I understand that there’s whitelisting things you can do, so that terrible ad-based sites suffer, but I would rather just not go to those offending websites.
We live in a strange time, I think. Younger generations feel entitled to block out all advertising to get what they want. Some would gladly pay for subscriptions in exchange for an ad-free experience, but I think that might get close to the erosion of net neutrality. This is also probably a ‘slippery slope’ argument in the making, so I’m going to stop there.
I think that my final opinion on the matter is that I’m perfectly fine with ads, if they are supporting a medium that I’m not paying for. Radio, podcasts, and web sites – those are great examples. All of those have options for ad-free experiences as well in most cases.
For radio, there is Satellite Radio available (for which I have a subscription – I enjoy both Satellite AND terrestrial radio); for podcasts, there are a host of options; for websites, ad-free versions have been around for years. Apps have paid versions as well as ad-supported free versions.
Where it gets less tolerable are services such as Television, where I pay a subscription service and still get ads. However it is still tolerable, because I realize that the ads are supporting the channels, so it’s really the cable service that I’m paying through the nose for. TV is complicated, guys.
What are your thoughts?