A “Hackable Me” post is a few words on incremental personal self-improvement: a personal hack to better myself. I’m actually very skeptical when it comes to the kind of DIY, fixer-upper, read-this-book-to-change-your-life sort of self-improvement one normally thinks about. On the other hand I tend to consider that (a) publicly scrutinized goals and (b) introspective evaluation of those goals through words tends to lead to making me a better person. This is just a thing to do with that.
With one last family holiday party now offically behind us, my mind has gone back to the project getting my fitness level back on track.
Sadly enough, and despite dropping over two stone in weight in 2012, the experts still tell me that I could stand to loose another.
And, seeing as how I sometimes use my lunch hour to pepper out a blog entry, my mind is currently thinking about how all this relates to just that: lunch.
See, apart from drifting back into the the all-too-frequent habit of munching too many snacks throughout December, I’ve managed to stay fairly strong and true to the no snacking rule (at least at work.) Hey, it’s tough to ignore the mountains of holiday baking and colourfully wrapped chocolates overflowing from every bowl. But enough is enough, and its now mid-January… so, Hackable Me 2013 is officially starting.
Last year my eating plan — specifically during that five month span while I lost the weight — revolved around a kind of carrot-stick, gamification-slash-accounting model. Specifically, I point-ified bad foods (negative points) and point-ified good behaviour (positive points.) The game was to keep the balance sheet in the black. And it worked.
But this year, at least so far, I’m lacking the so-called carrot part of that equation. And it’s tough without that part. I’ve been dabbling in the same method and… yeah. A new plan was required.
My new concept — the new plan — then has been to play a little something I’ve called Lunch Roulette. It works a little bit like this…
I’m a plan-based thinker. Follower.
First, I’m a plan-based thinker. Do-er. Follower. Want to know how I managed to run over 1200 km last year? Well, it’s because I charted out goals, sometimes months in advance, and then I tried very hard to meet those goals. The plan said to run X distance… so I ran X distance (give or take.) If I miss the goal… well, then I’m only cheating myself.
The problem with eating is that the mental accounting works great when you’re aiming for a goal, but on a day-to-day, just tracking kind of approach, it loses steam pretty quick. I mean, I walk out of the door planning on having a salad, but by the time I get down there the line is long and I’m kinda thinking some ginger beef would be nice, and…
My fix has been Lunch Roulette. Ask me what I’m going to eat next Tuesday. Or on July 18th. Or any weekday for the next year. Sure, it might be slightly mundane to have charted out my meals for the next year, but in my poor little hack-worthy brain plan equals following the plan. And if I determine to eat healthy lunches for the next year, plotting them out in advance, then I’ll probably bat at least a .900 for the year. No kidding.
— a salad, a sandwich, a bowl of soup, etc. —
The “roulette” part comes into play because (using another column in my fitness log spreadsheet) I added a column of randomly generated (but now static and fixed) digits. Each digit represents a type of meal — a salad, a sandwich, a bowl of soup, etc. — in a kind of weighted proportion. (For example, I’ve got eight slots representing a salad day, but only three slots representing a sub day.) I’ve even added in a few “choice” days, just to allow myself an indulgence here and there. The plan: look at the day, eat what it says. (Oh, and avoid the snacks and other crap. No cheating, right?)
Today, I got myself a wrap. That’s what came up on the plan.
It won’t work for everyone — and hey, I’ve only been doing it a few days myself, so it might not even work for me — but I’m going to try it and maybe an update (hopefully a positive one) will show up here in a month or two.
Got any fitness hacking ideas? Comment below.