An Experiment to Get Healthy

Back when I was working from home in Portland my weight didn’t fluctuate that much. I ate reasonably healthy food, and I rode my bike and walked a ton. Without trying, I stayed around 145-150 lb for years (which was perfect for me). Working at an office and living in San Francisco the past couple of years, however, it’s become something I do need to start thinking about.

I’ve been using a FitBit Aria scale – which measures body fat percentage as well as weight – for about two years. According to FitBit, my weight was 147.1 lb (22.1 BMI) with 15% body fat in July 2014. As of last Sunday (June 19) it’s 168.9 lb (25.7 BMI) with 20.5% body fat.

Something has got to change. I haven’t felt this uncomfortable in my own skin since high school. I hate it.

The Causes

Okay, moving on. The biggest things I can see that would be affecting my weight are:

  1. I was taking Adderall for my ADD a lot more consistently before I moved. It suppresses appetite. I really hope the only way for me to maintain a healthy weight isn't through drugs. I weighed less than I do now before I started taking it though, so it's pretty hard to be sure how much this could have affected things.
  2. I was walking and riding my bike more before I moved. The data I have for this isn't that good -- all I have is step tracking to go on. Steps seem pretty consistent, but the further back the less data I have. I also have no way to know how much I was biking.
  3. I'm eating out a lot more for lunch, and the food in downtown San Francisco isn't the healthiest.
  4. I've been drinking more than I was before. It's like all people do here. Plus wine is really tasty.

My Plan

I would like to not have to rely on Adderall for focus and maintaining my weight if at all possible. With that in mind solution is to try this experiment over the next thirty days and report the results:

What would happen if I replaced drinking and sitting with exercise and meditation?

Specifically what steps am I going to take? A few.

  1. Using a standing desk. I don't expect this to make the biggest difference by itself, but it seems like there's pretty good evidence standing is better than sitting. Every little bit helps.
  2. Do yoga at least 2 days a week at the gym.
  3. Run at least 3 days a week. I'm using a Couch to 5k app on my phone so I don't burn out or hurt myself.
  4. Track calories of everything I eat using MyFitnessPal.
  5. No Drinking. I'm not planning to quit drinking forever, but I think for the duration of this at least, I should just cut it out entirely.
  6. Perform daily meditation to help focus. I'm using Headspace because it's a guided meditation program meant for beginners which ramps you up slowly.
  7. Use a Pomodoro timer app to help stay focused while working.
  8. Blog my results every day. What activity I did, my weight, body fat, how I did with calories, and my state of mind.

So, that’s my experiment. I’m looking forward to seeing how it will turn out.

Collin Donnell @collin