Tag Archives: engineering

The Plan: Mastering Personal Health

I realize that my previous post may not be the best process for everyone. Leonard talks about how the process of mastery, the journey, is what we should revel in. I don’t think this process can be the same for everyone. We all think differently; I, as an engineer, think in terms of processes and protocols. I hope that I’m using this method of thinking to enter into the best process possible.

Plan feedback loopMany people like to talk about a change in lifestyle. The book seems to propose the ultimate lifestyle change. One’s lifestyle isn’t static, however, and by being able to regulate it, I hope to avoid resistance to change.

This means that my Plan must be flexible enough to change, yet still rigid enough to work well. A simple plan is best.

For overall health and weight loss, I formulated my initial Plan:

  1. A set Calorie intake range. From my own past results and what I’ve heard from professionals, this range must be regardless of calorie expenditure through exercise. When maintenance is desired, calorie expenditure should be taken into account.
  2. Required, scheduled exercise. This exercise should be of high quality and of varying intensity. The Schedule will handle much of the exercise regimen.
  3. Blacklisted Foods & Required Foods. Some foods should be avoided while others are necessary for a good diet, weight loss, and hunger management. For example, Trans Fats, High Fructose Corn Syrup, and Unnatural Sweeteners should be avoided. Unground, whole grains are a requirement (unground grains keep me sated for hours).

The following metrics will be recorded:

  • Daily / Weekly Calorie intake
  • Calorie Expenditure through Exercise
  • Weekly Weight (Mondays)
  • Deviations from Plan (Unless recorded in Calories).

This will allow me to compare

(Calories (Week) – CalExpended(Exercise, Week) – CalExpended(Metabolism, Week)) / 3500 Calories / Pound of weight

with my Weekly ΔWeight. This will allow me to adjust CalExpended(Metabolism) to equate the above with my change in weight. It will also allow me to adjust the caloric intake range in the Plan.

My goal is to ramp up to the Plan tomorrow, with a full start on Monday (First weigh-in).

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Earning a Masters Degree

I need to finish my Masters’ Thesis with dedication! It is much more difficult to keep the same level of effort in an unstructured setting than in a normal classroom setting. Last semester I took the most difficult class ever, Underwater Acoustics I. Exams were take-home and the worst of the three required 60 hours of work to complete (for an “80” on that one, too)! Yet I did complete the exams, enjoyed the class, and did well in the class (“A,” which means something somewhat different than an undergrad “A”). Now, my drive is waning and I’m obviously searching for new activities to grab my interest.

What prevents me from mastering one activity? Once I have enough skill in something to truly be considered a student, I’m off to something new. At work my primary job has been in network engineering. I work on Cisco routers at a high level and often troubleshoot and design different networks. I can’t say I’ve completely mastered them, and I’m already seeing my interests divert to other types of tasks (I’m currently learning a lot of C# for a special project and for my masters degree in Electrical Engineering).

At home my gratest ability was with the game “Go.” This is an ancient Chinese board game popular in East Asia (some professionals make up to US$500,000). I’m far from my greatest possible strength (which is not even close to those professionals), but I stopped studying and playing. At least this shift made sense as I quit in favor of earning my degree. Now, however, I’m plagued with a number of interests which, while fledgling, are worthy of near-mastery.

I need to complete my degree soon (I plan to graduate Spring 2010) so I can concentrate fully on the learning of one skill or art form.