The purpose of this experiment is to find out what would happen to my body and mind over 30 days if I tracked my calorie intake and I replaced drinking with exercise and meditation. My hypothesis is that I will lose weight, become stronger, gain better focus, and have less anxiety.
From the day I wrote the original post (6/21) I have lost 1.8 pounds and my body fat percentage has gone down 0.9%. The exercise I’ve so far is mostly yoga, walking, and some pushups using a 100 pushups program. I’m probably going to start running again though within the next day or two now that my knees are feeling better. Since your weight can change about 2 lb a day (I’m told), it’s a bit hard to put too much into those specific metrics after only one week, but I still think the results so far look pretty promising. Here they are on a line graph:
The trend lines on weight and body fat are both pointing down (which is great). My weight kind of fluctuates up and down a bit each day, but like I said, I think that’s expected. The body fat % tracking actually seems to be going down a lot more consistently, which is the number I care more about, since if I’m replacing fat with muscle, that’s going to affect the amount of weight change I have.
I’d like to see my focus improve more (ADHD sucks), but my anxiety has definitely been improving in the two and a half weeks or so I’ve been practicing daily meditation. I feel as though between meditation and learning about Buddhism, I’ve begun to reflect the way I talk and act sometimes, and make some positive changes to help me become the person I want to be. I think we all get carried away and say things we don’t really mean sometimes, or exaggerate for comedic effect. I want to not do that anymore.
It’s the end of the first week! I’ll be following this one up with a wrap up post for the past days.
Weight: 167 (+0.4 lb / +0.24%)
Body Fat %: 20.2% (-1.94%)
Active Calories: 753
Total Calories: 2661
Calories Consumed: 2112 (549 Deficit)
I am pretty certain that the Apple Watch is way underestimating how many calories I’m burning during yoga, but it’s the only tool I have, so here it is.
Active Calories: 289
Total Time: 1:12
Avg Heart Rate: 102
100 Pushups Program (Week 1, Day 3)
- 10m Headspace (Foundation 2, Day 7)
State of Mind
Felt a bit anxious and not as focused in the earlier part of the day, but did okay with both later on.
A relaxed Sunday. Walked enough to make sure I hit my move goal, but nothing else special.
Weight: 166.6 (+0.8 lbs / +0.5%)
Body Fat %: 20.9% (-0.5%)
Active Calories: 619
Total Calories: 2452
Calories Consumed: 1502
Calorie Deficit: 950
- Walked to hit Apple Watch move goal (460)
- Missed meditation. Nothing extraordinary to report.
I managed to miss blogging over the weekend — so I thought I’d just combine Friday and Saturday days into one post. I went to yoga at my gym Friday, which was great. The new sort-of-related thing I did this weekend was that I managed to make it to the San Francisco Zen Center at 8:40am to attend their zazen meditation introduction and dharma talk. I’m going to try to start going regularly if I can will my body up early enough on Saturday.
Day 4 (6/24/16)
Weight: 165.3 (No Change)
Body Fat %: 20.7% (-0.96%)
Active Calories: 981
Total Calories: 2889
Calories Consumed: 1694
Calorie Deficit: 1195
Active Calories: 438
Total Time: 1:12
Avg Heart Rate: 104
- 10m Headspace (Foundation 2, Day 6)
Day 5 (6/25/16)
Weight: 165.8 (+0.24%)
Body Fat %: 20.7% (No Change)
Active Calories: 624
Total Calories: 2483
Calories Consumed: 1469
Calorie Deficit: 1014
- Walked to hit my calorie goal (460).
- Unguided walking meditation.
No extra exercise yesterday. I still made sure I hit my move goal on my Apple Watch, but I’ve decided to not try running again for a few days because of the knee thing. When I do start again, I’m going to try just doing it on a treadmill at the gym so it’s a little lower impact.
I have managed to keep up with my standing desk all week. It’s actually not that hard. I suspect if I were heavier to start or weren’t using a mat it would be worse. I sit during lunch, meditation, and other times during the day when I’m not at my desk. Otherwise I’m standing all day.
No weight or meaningful body fat change. Since your body can fluctuate a couple of pounds day to day no matter what, I’m not actually too worried about if this number goes up or down slightly for at least the first week.
Weight: 165.3 (No Change)
Body Fat %: 20.9% (+0.5%)
Active Calories: 540
Total Calories: 2450
Calories Consumed: 1790
Calorie Deficit: 660
Just walked enough to make sure I hit my activity goal (460) for the day.
- 10m Headspace (Foundation 2, Day 5)
- Unguided Walking Meditation
State of Mind
Focus was a little better than the day before, but I can do better. Anxiety about the same (good).
I almost didn’t go to yoga yesterday because I was afraid it would cause my knees to hurt more, but I did and it ended up not hurting them at all. I’ll probably replace running with a brisk walk or a bike ride for the next couple of days.
I started two new things yesterday. A guided walking meditation, and the beginning of a 100 pushup program. I might use the guide for walking one or two more times and then continue doing it unguided. The pushup program should have me doing 100 pushups in 5 sets of 20 in 10 weeks if I stick with it, but it started off at just 18, which wasn’t too hard.
Weight: 165.3 (-0.3 lb / -0.18%)
Body Fat %: 20.8% (-0.48%)
Active Calories: 1029
Total Calories: 2924
Calories Consumed: 1778 (1146 Deficit)
I only have the Apple Watch activity tracking to go off of here, and I don’t know how accurate it is for yoga.
Active Calories: 514
Total Time: 1:07
Avg Heart Rate: 115
100 Pushups Program (Week 1, Day 1)
10m Headspace (Foundation 2, Day 4)
Headspace Guided Walking Meditation
State of Mind
Anxiety was good, but focus was less than I would have liked it to have been. I forgot to use my Comodoro timer, and I think that hurt me. I’ll have to make a point to use it consistently going forward.
Yesterday was a good day other than that my knees were still hurting from last week at WWDC, which made running less fun than it could have been. I don’t want to hurt myself, so I’m going to try switching to biking until they feel better. I also made a point after work to get things I could make for lunch so I won’t have to eat downtown as much. That should save make hitting my calorie goals easier (plus save me money — you wouldn’t believe the cost of food in SF).
Weight: 165.6 (-1.9 lb / -1.13%)
Body Fat %: 20.9 (0.0%)
Active Calories: 621
Total Calories: 2485
Calories Consumed: 1470 (1015 Deficit)
Active Calories: 210
Total Time: 30:49
Total Distance: 2.03 MI
Avg Heart Rate: 176
10m Headspace (Foundation 2, Day 3)
State of Mind
Morning was okay for focus, but not great. After taking 10m out to meditate focus and productivity both improved and I felt less anxious. Going to try meditating first thing before I start work instead of waiting later in the day.
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.
Okay, moving on. The biggest things I can see that would be affecting my weight are:
- 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.
- 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.
- I’m eating out a lot more for lunch, and the food in downtown San Francisco isn’t the healthiest.
- I’ve been drinking more than I was before. It’s like all people do here. Plus wine is really tasty.
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.
- 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.
- Do yoga at least 2 days a week at the gym.
- 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.
- Track calories of everything I eat using MyFitnessPal.
- 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.
- 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.
- Use a Pomodoro timer app to help stay focused while working.
- 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.