Quantifying myself

Times change, as individuals we grow and develop. We explore new things, move on and come back.

For me, the last five years has seen a lot more awareness of myself. Putting on a bit of weight, then working to get rid of that again. Much of it came down to the numbers, and how they’re measured, recorded and exploited.

Weight, at it’s simplest level, is a question of energy consumed and how that compares to energy expended. Calories in vs Calories out. If we conume more than we expend, then the surplus remains as additional weight, stored as chemical energy. On the other hand, if we expend more than we consume, then we start to recover that stored chemical energy, and as a result lose weight. Those metrics are simple; bodymass, Basal metabolic rate in kilocalories, activity in kilocalories, and energy consumed as kilocalories. It’s not quite that simple, people have medical conditions that affect how energy and nutrients consumed are processed, but they’re not fundamentally changing the laws of physics.

This is where we get to the more interesting, to me, elements of quantification. How do we measure those energy types, and how much confidence do we have in them? And how accurae do we need to be? Weight is only one aspect of health, with how active we are and what that activity is being important as well.

I use a range of different tools, that I’ll mutter about in other articles, to guide my progress, nag me to develop one aspect or another about my health. I’m still a little heavier than I could be, but I’m in a very different place healthwise than I was five years ago. That’s in no small part down to the tools I’ve used to inform, and to help.

I’ll talk a little about the tools, and the running, cycling and swimming that have helped me get to where I am now.

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Photo 101: Natural World

Sloe Berries

I like macro work, tricky to get right using a phone camera but it’s a satisfying approach. Taken while walking the dog.

Taken with my Galaxy S4.

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Photo 101: Landmark

Westminster Palace Clock Tower

Westminster Palace Clock Tower

Landmarks, London is full of them. This one is iconic, and I took it from a couple of places. A challenge in the dark but the walls on the riverbank provided some support for a handheld shot. Taken with my Nikon Coolpix compact from underneath Westminster Bridge. Could have used a tripod, but I’d forgotten to put it in my briefcase.

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Photo 101: Connections


Todays theme, Connections.   Several layers of that here, connecting the past with the present, civilian with military and the living with the dead.

Tower of London, the last days of the Poppy installation and the crowds are huge.

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Photo 101: The Saturday run


No challenge from Photo101 today, but the suggestion of playing with the themes and technical points from this week.

I went out for a short trail run this morning, only 6Km but it was nice.  Very rainy and muddy but still fun.  I think this could have qualified as either Bliss or Solitude from this week.  Square format as it was taken in Instagram seems to suit a central point of convergence rather than a rule of thirds approach.

This was about 1Km into the session.  Taken on my Galaxy S4 using the generic camera.

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Photo 101: Solitude


Solitude, though not quite.  Out with the dog.

The other aspect today was the rule of thirds, giving a focal point for the shot.  This shot has several convergence points, but I’ve tried to stick with the brief and open up the sky.

Taken on my Nexus 7

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Photo 101: Bliss


Meditation tools

The tools of meditation, leading to Nirvana.  Sometimes. 

Sometimes meditation is a struggle, sometimes one sinks into the moment and experiences blissful Nirvana.

The meditation cushion, a small figure of a Thai Buddha, the Bell and Dorje of the Tantra, and a candle.  At times meditation on a flame provides a point of focus that helps the process.

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