Tech and Games for Non-Geeks

I’ve gotten myself a Fitbit! Why? Really, it’s the boyfriend’s fault. Have I mentioned how he loves his tech toys? Not in a million years would I have guessed I’d be living in an apartment with a television that big. Or even a television at all. I always do everything with my laptop and my phone. That’s the only tech I need. I never buy anything new until one of those two falls apart completely because I don’t like spending money on that stuff. But now the boyfriend has all this fun tech that he gets so enthusiastic about and it’s so contagious!

For example: I now watch him play Playstation games. Let me tell you, I am not a gamer and don’t think I’ll ever be one, but watching those story games is just like watching a super long movie and playing a board game at the same time. It’s something really fun to do together if you also happen to have a partner with a much higher level of ‘geekiness’ (which I use in a very loving way) then you have yourself. I for example really enjoyed Firewatch, about a ranger in a national park where someone disappeared, and some weird stuff happens. I also weirdly enjoy Hitman, because it’s kinda like an interactive Bond movie. You go to different places like Bangkok, where you get a target and a bunch of information, and you spend your game trying to find ways to get to your target without being caught and all that. Great fun! I tried playing it myself once but man, those controls are tricky to use! It’s much more fun having the boyfriend do the hard work while I just watch and make suggestions. And that way he gets to do his thing and play games, and I get to do my thing, which at that point is sitting on the couch and figuring out stuff, think riddles like in escape rooms and all that.

Also, he now has this super fancy super fast gaming computer (which he got under the pretence of needing a faster computer for editing his videos, as of course, he’s a bit of a vlogger) with some really fun simulator games. (This is when I found out that name The Sims comes from the fact that it’s a simulator game 😉 ) Once in a while, I enjoy a good Cities Skylines marathon. (It’s kinda like a new Sim Cities, but better apparently.)

I even didn’t let my old phone fall into pieces before I got a new one! Well, new one. My phone was starting to get slow and it didn’t really have much space for all the apps I like using (most of them recommended to me by the boyfriend, of course), so naturally the boyfriend had another phone lying around that I now get to use, an LG G3. Bigger, faster, newer. It does the trick 😉

And my latest addition: a Fitbit sports watch and activity tracker! The boyfriend somehow managed to get a free upgrade from his dad’s old broken Fitbit, and ever since he’s been super conscious about his physical health. We’ve always tried to be healthy, go for walks and runs and eat decent food, but only to the point where we enjoy it. We’re definitely not fitness freaks and still love our pizza and chocolate, but we’ve found it does help us to be happy if we’re healthy. And now, we’re really trying to change our lifestyle for the better!

This Fitbit also has a great app where you can have a little energising social network. The boyfriend’s been doing these challenges with his colleagues to see who gets the most steps and all that, and it really makes him get out and about more. For me, I always enjoy going for a run but I never really know if I’m making any progress, because I always end up running longer and longer but never really any faster it seems. Also, rather than just training on cardio, I should really try to burn some fat if I want my general fitness (which isn’t bad at this point really) to get any better. I’m overweight, so the best thing for me to do is train on a slightly lower heart rate until I have a more healthy weight. And then, my general fitness should start improving like a rocket. But obviously, apart from checkin my level of ‘red face’ in the windows of the houses I run passed, I have no idea how hard I’m actually training. So finally, now, my brand new Fitbit Surge tells me all I need to know! It tells me my heart rate, how fast I’m running, and on top of all that it also does the daily activity tracking and it’s super user friendly app totally let’s me keep on top of my health, which so far, I’m really enjoying.

Whether I’m enjoying it because it’s a fun tech toy and the idea of being active is sort of game-ified or I’m just enjoying being more active, at this point I don’t think it matters. All I know is that I feel healthier, happier, and I hope I’ll keep enjoying it like I am now.

So even for people generally suspicious of tech who might think, just like I did, that ‘you don’t need any of this stuff to be who you want to be, or to be happy’, I say true. But it definitely a lot more fun to have than I expected 😉

How Do You Get Healthy in a Healthy Way?

It has come this far, I think I would like to try the whole protein shake madness. Now, for me to say that is a big thing.

I have always been of the opinion that you should eat and sport in such a way that your body can handle it without extra help. For sports, this means that I used to refuse taking extra supplements, like magnesium to stop your muscles from cramping. My philosophy was: if I eat the correct way, my body will tell me how much sports is good for me. Therefore cramps meant either less sports or more varied food. Likewise for the food: if I sport the correct way, my body (and my scales) will show me when to cut down on the food. And that’s where it has been going wrong for a while now, as I have told you many times before.

My body is far from ideal. And it’s getting worse. Even us bigger girls that like to eat have a limit. And I’m afraid I have more than reached mine, at 73.5kgs and a BMI of 27.3, which makes me officially overweight. So I have been trying to go to the gym as often as I can, and I’m actually making some really good progress on the fitness side! My cardio is going better and better and I can feel myself getting stronger. But the scales are still as dissappointed as ever. I even had to start taking magnesium pills as a normal diet does not provide me with enough to keep the cramps away. But I guess it’s healthier to take some supplements than it would be to gain even more weight?

I’m also really trying with the food. I really don’t want to go on a diet, but I just try to be healthy and eat less. For breakfast I have yoghurt and muesli, or I would have some porridge with jam. For lunch I try making nice salads (today’s one had lettuce, beetroot, feta cheese, chick peas and grilled peppers, well tasty) or I buy soup at work. For dinner I only eat one serve (if it is really really tasty I still fall for seconds) and for snacks, I have bananas or apples or grapes, or just a little piece of cake to stop myself from going mental. Like I said, I do NOT want to diet, but I don’t mind making myself a few new healthier habits. I even cut down on the wine in the evening. Only in the weekends from now on. Sigh.

But it’s not enough. The weight keeps worrying me and it is making me unhappy like it never has before. I have never been this heavy before. I don’t mean to be skinny, but I just wonder how, after nearly 5 years of staying below my 70kgs limit (still being overweight, but not feeling bad about it), I have managed to fail. So I’m looking for extra tips and tricks. And if I already gave in to the magnesium supplements, I guess maybe some other supplements could be next, like a protein shake after the gym?

I wish I could just be healthy and happy, but even though I think I really am living a healthy life, I do not have a healthy body. Being overweight brings with it risks to heart diseases, and might have something to do with my bad back and feet too. I would love to hear some of your advice on how to get healthier in a healthy way!

 

 

Why I Will Never Diet, But Opt For an Active Lifestyle Instead

I finally started going to the gym again! I got a bit bored of it a few months back, so I decided to go kickboxing once a week and to take up running again. But then I had a problem with my foot and I was out for 2 months. And I gained so much weight, again 😦

Weight and me have always had a bad relationship. I blame it on a thousand things. I have never been skinny, not even as a child, so I think I can safely blame it partly on my metabolism. Also, as you might have noticed from some of my previous posts on food, I absolutely love eating. It is one of my favourite hobbies, rather than merely a necessity. And an annoying little side note: I hardly ever feel full. It is insane how much food I can eat without feeling ill. So naturally, if it is yummy, I eat too much of it. I also like cooking and baking. And if I decide to bake some brownies just because it’s a fun way to spend your Sunday afternoon, of course I end up eating them all. Even when I know perfectly well exactly how much butter and sugar go in there. Not to forget one of my all time favourite foods: cheese. I could have cheese for breakfast lunch and dinner, months at a time, and not get sick of it. Dutch cheese French cheese Italian cheese, even the English cheddar can take my fancy, not to forget some mature Stilton!

Once, I went on a diet. I even went to a food specialist, wanted to do it right. I was 15 years old and 15 kilos lighter than I am now. Yes, it didn’t go so well. Let’s just say I tend to overcompensate. 1 weak of good dieting (i.e. a lot less cheese, smaller portions, no more sandwiches with chocolate spread for breakfast, bye bye to the occasional pizza,…) usually ended with one meal consisting of a bag of crisps, a massive pizza, a whole package of chocolate, and all the cheese I could find. I never crave all this stuff (at least not in those quantities and combinations) when I’m not on a diet. Dieting makes me binge, badly. So to conclude: I will never go on a diet again. Not only does it make you moody as fuck, I end up gaining more than I wanted to lose. And those binge kilos stick. I’d even dare say: I am too scared to try dieting again!

The only way for me to feel more healthy: sports! When I lived in Australia, I was at the most skinny (yes, that is relative) I had been in a long time. 68 kilos. And I didn’t even try. I worked as a waitress and housekeeper, so I was on my feet all day. In my free time, I’d go running simply because the scenery was so nice, it was a good way to enjoy it. Or I’d go for long hikes with friends. Or I’d go swimming. It’s just the perfect country for an outdoor and active lifestyle and I miss it every day.

Since I got back, it’s been nearly impossible to keep my brand new active lifestyle up. I’m back at the old 72kgs. If you know I am only 1.64m tall, you know it is too much. I sit behind my desk all day at work, the furthest I walk is to the coffee machine and back. When I get home after a boring train ride, I want to spend some time with my boyfriend and enjoy a nice meal together, and then there is no time left to go to the gym. And I don’t like running in the dark. It’s boring. And cold.

But now the boyfriend decided he wants to go to the gym too! So we can go together! I am absolutely loving it. I had a sufficient break from the boring work outs and I know so many different exercises, I can mix my work out up a little bit and have little chats with my favourite person in between. And when I’m on the cross trainer and he’s on the treadmill, I like staring at him and making faces when he notices me. We try to go three times a week and I hope it’ll get me healthier again.

I’m trying to cut back on the food as well, but not as a diet. The only changes I am making are changes I am willing to be permanent. So I am NOT saying goodbye to cheese. I’m simply trying to maybe not put it in every dish I make. I choose lighter breakfasts in the week and when I feel like it in the weekend, I only have three chocolate spread sandwiches at most. (Mind you: I could eat a whole loaf of bread with the heavenly spread if really wanted to. So cutting down to three slices will do for now.) I cook slightly less food as well, so that I am not tempted to go for seconds. It’s not that I am ever still hungry after the first serve, more that I just want to have more. And if I want the occasional pizza, I will have the occasional pizza! That way I ease my craving and won’t go binging.

Ever since I can’t wear make-up anymore because of my allergies, I am a lot more conscious about my weight. I have chubby hamster cheeks, and somehow they are less prominent if I make my eyes jump out a bit more. Really, make-up was never the solution, but it did make me feel more pretty. Now, I guess I’m gonna have to really work hard to feel more pretty.

I will never be skinny and I have been fine with that for a long time, but I would like to feel healthy. And finally, I feel like I am on the right track again. When it gets to summer, I’ll be ready for spending all my free time outside again! And hopefully this time it won’t stop!

Wacky Coffee and a Healthy Lifestyle

I just read the weirdest article about coffee. I was browsing facebook and stumbled across the title: Do you drink coffee & feel tired? You may be doing it wrong. So of course, having a 9 to 5 desk job and therefore drinking a fair bit of coffee, I was intrigued. I am drinking it WRONG?!

I don’t really know who wrote this article, maybe I picked it up from one of those parody news sites, because the more you read the less sense it makes. In the end, it is basically telling you how to blend your own coffee, by adding some sort of butter from grass-eating cows and coconut oil. Whoaaaat?

I do really like articles like this, telling you about healthier alternatives for your apparently unhealthy everyday habits. Not so long ago, I read a blog post about face masks. I have really bad allergies when it comes to beauty products, but this blog post used only natural ingredients. I’m still dying to try some of them out, when I find the time, because I think they might just clear up and hydrate my skin without causing the usual eczema! But anyways, I got sidetracked. The tricky things about these articles and posts is always that I never know how true they are.

Apparently palm oil is bad for you.

Coconut oil is good for you.

You shouldn’t have too much butter.

Sometimes palm oil and coconut oil are listed as ingredients on the wrapping of what I believed to be butter.

And you can bake cakes and biscuits more healthily by replacing the butter with avocado.

But turns out butter is actually good for you, at least when it is in your … coffee?!?!

I’d like to hear from my fellow bloggers, what tips and tricks do you stick with for the healthier lifestyle, and why? But also: do you adhere to scientific research or just whatever sounds nice? And: How do you like your coffee? Mine is black. Black and strong. Preferably filter coffee. Although I do like an espresso after dinner.