Monthly Archives: February 2011
Disclosure: Not only am I openly supporting Dave Gagliardi, I’m working on his campaign.
The following letter was published in March issue of The Billerica Green. I’m confident that Dave will make an excellent Selectman and that he’ll help provide the leadership needed to help the Town prosper in the economic recovery and beyond.
Despite his long service on the Finance Committee, Dave is more than just a numbers guy. For example, Dave has led the Finance Committee on many visits to Town facilities and those visits have played a pivotal role in important decisions.
That’s because Dave understands that having meetings at Town Hall is only one piece of the process. Dave likes to see things first-hand and meet with the people involved. And then Dave forms an opinion about what’s right for the Town as a whole. Dave is an intelligent and thoughtful leader with experience and an optimistic vision for our community.
I hope you’ll join me in voting for Dave Gagliardi for Selectman on April 2, 2011.
25 Peace Street
The pictures in this post are from a visit the Finance Committee conducted at the Central Fire Station in October of 2008. In the first picture, Dave (right) and I (left) are suiting up and in the second picture, we’re using the jaws of life to take the door off of a car (l to r – me, Dave, firefighter).
We talked with the firefighters that day about how important the tools and equipment they use every day make the difference between life and death for the residents and visitors in Billerica.
We’ve been on many other visits and tours thanks to Dave’s leadership in putting together these trips.
For more information on Dave and his position on key issues, visit www.DaveGagliardi.com.
Disclosure: I have not been compensated in any way by BodyMedia. I paid full price for the product and ongoing subscription service.
Since April of 2010, I’ve been wearing the BodyMedia FIT Armband Advantage, a product more commonly known as the BodyBugg (the 24-Hour Fitness brand name) as seen on the Biggest Loser television show.
I bought the product to better understand how much I burn so I could better plan a diet to support my strength training and weight loss goals.
It’s basically a sensor you strap to your left tricep using an included armband as you can see in the picture here.
On the product’s website, they explain that the sensor and associated website help you monitor:
- Total Calories Burned
- Total Steps Taken
- Total Time Spent In Physical Activity
- Sleep Duration and Efficiency
Using the Sensor
To use the sensor, you wear it all the time, even while sleeping, and only take it off for the shower since it’s not waterproof. And then every couple of days, you use the included cable to connect the sensor to your computer to download the data and charge it’s rechargeable battery.
Uploading Your Data
Uploading your data is easy. When you setup the sensor initially, you install their software on your computer and setup a user account for the website. There is a monthly fee for the website but you get the first three months free and there was a discount because I signed up for a year’s service ($6.95/month).
Using the Website
The website is terrific. As you can see in the screen shot, the left column shows my goals, all of which are customizable at anytime. In the right column, it shows my actual performance for the day. Since I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill for a bit, I did well that day.
You can expand any or all sections of the data to show you detailed performance throughout the day. That’s been really helpful for me since I can see the spikes in calorie burn, recall what I did at the time of day, and understand how well I’m doing in my workouts or everyday actions like working in the office and what each activity contributes to my daily burn.
You can see in this screenshot that the sensor monitors your steps by hour. How many steps should you take in a day? Opinions vary but 10,000 steps has become commonly accepted as a good, active number for each day. For me, that translates into around five miles of walking a day.
As mentioned earlier, you should wear the sensor to sleep too since it provides feedback on your amount of sleep and the quality of your sleep. Not feeling rested when you wake in the morning? The monitor will tell you how long you actually slept versus just laying down and how many times you woke during the night. It’s not as detailed as a sleep study (which I’ve had when I was diagnosed with sleep apnea) but it will give you a good sense of whether or not you’re getting enough sleep.
There are other features on the site like a Food Logging tool. I don’t log my food at this point. I have in the past using Calorie Count on About.com. I’ve also used the Food Logging tool on the BodyMedia website. If you use this feature, which they’ve greatly improved in the last year, it will plug your total calorie amount into the calculations on your daily activity page so you know what your real caloric deficit is each day. Since I don’t log my food, I use an estimated number of calories consumed each day.
Measuring each day is helpful but I think taking a longer look at what you’re doing helps guide your decisions. Are you active enough? Are you walking enough? Do you get enough sleep? There is a 28-day view shown here that helps you look at your performance over time and I think that’s the right time period to consider as you continuously evaluate your health.
What have I learned in the last ten months?
- I probably didn’t eat enough in my first 9 months of training since I thought I only burned about 2,200 calories a day so I tried to eat only 1,600 – 1,700 to lose weight. I likely could have built more muscle as I trained if I fed my workouts since I was closer to 3,000 calories burned most days.
- I need to walk more. I’m only averaging around 3,500 steps during the last month. I need to spend more time on the treadmill.
- I’m sleeping well. I wish I had used the sensor before I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and started CPAP so I could see the difference in what the sensor reports. At this point, I get a solid 8 hours a night, occasionally a little less, but usually right on which is what my body needs to heal from my workouts and keep my body healthy and fresh.
The sensor is a constant reminder that I’m focused on my health. After the first day or so you forget that you’re wearing it most of the time, but in the moments that I feel the armband there, I’m reminded why I wear it and what I’m doing for my health. It’s a good feeling. It was also a good feeling recently when I ordered a new, larger armband. The medium armband that comes with the sensor became too small thanks to the arm workouts I’ve been doing. It was getting a bit like a blood pressure cuff so I went to the next size up. So it will be fun for me to see how much I need to keep letting out the strap as I keep working at the gym.
You can buy the product on the BodyMedia website or from online retailers like Amazon.com for about $200 plus the website subscription. For me, it’s been a great investment in my health since I have some great information to use in my planning. People focus so much on what’s going in (food/drink) but they completely guess about what you’re burning which is a huge miss! This product takes the guess work out of it. I would recommend this product to anyone focused on their health whether you are at your goal weight or not.
Please feel free to ask questions if there’s anything I haven’t covered.
I don’t travel as much as I used to so I’m typically in the office five days a week, sitting at my desk, working away, hunched over like most people who work at a desk. It’s no wonder that I’ve had lower back pain for years. With the work I’ve done over the last two years to improve my health, I’ve focused a great deal on strengthening my core but the back pain has persisted so I started investigating different options.
I saw an orthopedist, a physical therapist, had a few cortisone shots and finally saw a spine specialist who told me there was nothing structurally wrong with my back so I had no need for surgery. Relieving the activity that was creating the pain and building my core would be the plan for me.
About two years ago, I brought a balance ball to work. Most days, I would replace my desk chair with the ball for an hour or two so I could sit up straight and focus on keeping my back upright. It’s good for a while but you can only hold your core tight for so long.
More recently, I did some research on standing desks. You can find 39,000,000 results on Bing for standing desk so clearly there’s no shortage of information. Most articles will tell you that our bodies were not designed to sit all day but they are more conditioned for standing. So I decided to mock-up a standing desk to see if I might like this setup. You can see how I used the boxes from Halo 3 and Halo: Reach legendary editions to put up my monitor and keyboard.
After feeling confident that this setup would work well for me, I investigated getting a true standing desk through Microsoft’s ergonomics program. I learned that I needed to complete an online ergonomics assessment and get a form signed by my doctor in order to initiate the process. After completing those steps, the order was placed thanks to the support and encouragement of my manager.
My new sit and stand desk arrived this past Monday. As you can see in the picture here, the legs are telescoping so I can lower the desk if I choose to sit or raise it for standing which has become my default position. For reference on just how tall the standing desk is, you can see the far desk with the filing cabinet underneath it is at normal desk height.
It’s been a great week with the new setup and I’d encourage anyone who’s tired of hunching over to mock up a standing desk as I did to give it a try. There are a number of options out there for standing desks, some not quite as high-tech as my desk so they’re much more affordable, especially for the many people working from a home office where you likely have to buy your own furniture. A number of the desks from IKEA adjust to a standing height.
Let me know if you have any questions or want to know if my enthusiasm for this setup lasts!
p.s. – I took both pictures with my Windows Phone 7 device, an LG Quantum… pretty good quality, eh?
On behalf of the Billerica Partners for Education, we want to congratulate the 136 children who competed this past Saturday, February 5, 2011 in the second annual Billerica Spelling Bee. The event, true to its intent, showcased the academic talents of the children of Billerica who spelled 978 words with everything from dimple to gazpacho and many words in between. There were many exciting moments and even records set including Vining Elementary School fourth-grader Patrick Browne spelling twenty-two words correctly, more than any other grade winner in the competition.
Congratulations to our winners:
- Third Grade: First Place – Jessica D’Antona, Hajjar Elementary School, Second Place – Roshni Bhat, Ditson Elementary School, Third Place – Niloy Neogi, Ditson Elementary School
- Fourth Grade: First Place – Patrick Browne, Vining Elementary School, Second Place – Judy Tolleson, Ditson Elementary School, Third Place – Katelynn Brown, Vining Elementary School
- Fifth Grade: First Place – Araceli Schmalz, Innovation Academy Charter School, Second Place – Sarah Burns, Dutile Elementary School, Third Place – Samuel LaPusata, Kennedy Elementary School
- Sixth Grade: First Place – Rachelle Mejia, Locke Middle School, Second Place – Michael Burton, Locke Middle School, Third Place – Colin Brooks, Marshall Middle School and Gaurang Amonkar ,Locke Middle School
- Seventh Grade: First Place – Emma Tilley, Academy of Notre Dame, Second Place – Eric Tang, Locke Middle School, Third Place – David LaPusata, Locke Middle School
- Eighth Grade: First Place – Richard MacDonald, Marshall Middle School, Second Place – Ashley Casello, Marshall Middle School, Third Place – Ved Pitre, Locke Middle School
- Grand Championship: First Place – Richard MacDonald (pictured above with Billerica Spelling Bee co-chairs, Mike and Denise Moore), Marshall Middle School, Second Place – Emma Tilley, Academy of Notre Dame, Third Place – Araceli Schmalz, Innovation Academy Charter School, Fourth Place – Rachelle Mejia, Locke Middle School
We’d like to thank all of the children, their parents, and their families who helped them study and supported them throughout the event. We’d also like to thank all of the principals, teachers, and office staff that helped enroll the students in the contest, delivered the written test for the Spelling Bee, and supported the children as they prepared for the competition.
The event raised more than $1,800 for the Billerica Partners for Education Innovative Classroom Grant Program, a program that has given more than $120,000 to support innovative programs in the Billerica Public Schools.
The sponsors who contributed financially allowed us to host a high-quality event, just like the children deserved. Thank you again to the Billerica Rotary Club especially Mike Reed and Tony Lucacio, The Billerica Green, Enterprise Bank, and Ma’s Dry Cleaning.
We were fortunate to have many volunteers who gave their time to judge the event and make the experience great for the children. Our thanks go to John Gagliardi, Linda Kelley, Tricia Lucacio, Peter Greeley, Mary McBride, Bob Correnti, Barbara Flaherty, Bob Accomando, Christine Morgan, Mike Reed, Rebecca Scott, Doris Pearson, Carol Bertolucci, David Gagliardi, Joy Beaubien-Harmer, Liana Measmer, Sandra Giroux, Ed Giroux, Eileen Roake, Bill Downing, Marie Blanchette, Jessica Cheek, and Miriam Chekmeyan.
We could not have created this event and delivered it so well without our distinguished Pronouncer, Dr. Richard Safier, Assistant Superintendent of the Billerica Public Schools. It has been our pleasure to partner with Dr. Safier on this great annual event and we will miss him terribly when he leaves our community. But the Pronouncer’s seat will always be open for him since we consider him a lifetime member of our Billerica Spelling Bee family.
Click the toolbar at the top for content from the event and look for the competition on BATV within the next few weeks!
We enjoyed the event immensely and look forward to having another great event next year. If you’d like to be involved, please contact us using the information below.
Finally, the Billerica Partners for Education produce many great community events like the Elementary Art and Talent Show in March and the Fights for Education in April. For more information on these events, please visit www.bped.org.
Michael and Denise Moore
Co-chairs, Billerica Spelling Bee