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Year in Review: Fitness

The Year In Review:


GitHub repository (PRIVATE)


So this year was a unique one in terms of exercise. Not just in the stay-at-home orders, which means no more gym (not that I was going to the gym regularly anyways), but also the pandemic and trying to avoid the hospital and any broken / sprained bones and ligaments discouraging exercise too. That, plus adjusting to a work-from-home routine that doesn't involve long periods of sitting in front of a screen, all resulted in a substantial backslide this year compared to the last.

Good news is I kept a bunch of metrics throughout most of this year, and I got around to Dockerizing that data and plotting a bunch of visualization for certain metrics. So let's get to it.

iphone screen time

Hmm, for the amount of time I spend on my iPhone, I can present some observations:

  • There's a big reduction in outliers sometime in May. I think this is because I started using Boss as a Service at that time, and started reporting in times spent on my phone and prioritizing a decrease in screen time then.

    I am a little disappointed that the Kitchen Safe I purchased for the express purpose of locking up my phone didn't seem to have as big of an impact as I had hoped. It might be because it's a bit small and cramped, in which case maybe purchasing a bigger bottom would be better, or because I keep it out of the way of where my work area is, in which case maybe I should look into getting a bigger desk.

  • I spend wayyyy too much time on my phone than I should. I think my target is around 3 hours a day, but I think I usually spend up to 5-6 hours on my phone (or 400 minutes). A lot of times, locking up my phone in my Kitchen Safe is really inconvenient, I can't be reached via text, and I think some websites require SMS two-factor authentication instead of token-based auth (which is available on my laptop via Authy for Linux), so I can't log into those websites if I need to.

iphone screen time

Hmm. Fuck.

  • Lots of missing data. I stopped recording my weight when I went back to my parent's place to Michigan for a few months, because the scale at my parent's place isn't all that accurate compared to my digital, self-calibrating scale at my place. So I lacked information on how much calories I was building up and not burning off until I got back to my place three months later.

    I think I should record what information I can from this point onwards, because 1-2 pounds variance is nothing compared to gaining 10-20 pounds over a few months of overeating. If possible, I should bring my scale from my place to my parent's place, or just purchase another scale and ship to my parent's place next time I stay there.

    Also parent's food is good. So at least I didn't gain weight eating McDonald's or some crap like that.

  • I kinda gave up latter half of the year. I think I was really working towards losing weight, and I had a target of around 145 lbs (which I never really reached but was close to). After discovering that my weight skyrocketed, I became depressed and despairing and stopped caring about losing weight, and traded off gaining weight for mental sanity as the pandemic took off by stress eating. Hence the ever-increasing amount of weight gained.

    I think it's hard given a routine of sitting in one place to build another routine of exercising regularly over a few weeks. I still lack that capability to build multi-week habits. I'll need to pick that back up if I'm going to lose this stress weight.

Yeah gaining 40 pounds over this year is not my cup of tea. I'll need to fix this in 2021.

iphone screen time

  • Same shtick as weight. Only with a lesser granularity because my waist usually varies by increments of half an inch for whatever reason.

    Also interesting is how waist size varies for any given period. I think my waist size was around 33.5’’ consistently at the beginning of the year, and now it's 37’'. I don't think I'd be able to deduce this pattern until I see the entire data in full.

This is probably the most depressing part of my year in review, how I failed to keep my body healthy in ways I measured. I'm still incredibly lucky, though. I've heard people who've gotten COVID invariably cannot exercise anymore due to the lack of lung capacity, and I'm guessing whenever the ACA gets repealed insurance companies will label COVID a pre-existing condition with skyrocketing premiums, along with weight gain from inability to exercise meaningfully, will result in a drastic decline in physical health among the U.S. population. Compared to that I'm hella lucky (though I still might catch COVID if I'm not careful). I can always do a better job though, and whenever I get the vaccine I should look at exercising more and re-evaluating the risk of a broken bone or something vs. decreased health from overweight-ness and obesity and blah blah blah.

I think I'd rather just know things are horrible early on rather than wait until I'm a literal beach ball of fat. This is another argument for making an in-house database-backed spreadsheet application + streaming visualization tool; if I don't, I might not see the bigger picture on a day-to-day basis.