Tag Archives: routine

Resisting Equilibrium

I have reached the first point where I want to return to equilibrium. I have been exercising nearly daily for about three weeks and, aside from a couple of minor pitfalls, I am doing well. Now I’m plagued with thoughts about not wanting to continue with my nutrition plan. My body is giving me feedback about the exercise I’ve been doing, though I’ve been pushing through. Now it’s time to review how I’ve been doing and adjust.

My failings have been fairly minor, one day events. A work outing with beer, snack food, and grilled meat; a work lunch with high calorie and hard-to-record food; and a family birthday party with pizza and snack food have all passed by, yet I’ve managed to progress. This sort of event occurs and limiting damage is an important and difficult skill.

I have been practising tai chi chuan almost daily. I need to make this more routine, perhaps moving tai chi to the mornings. I’ve also been working out with tae bo, a much more intense activity that I cannot keep up every day. If I can manage to do tae bo 3-4 evenings a week as well, I’ll be doing as perfectly as possible.

Some habits are hard to break. I get up early in the morning, but I don’t really get moving for an hour or two afterward. The habit of morning Tai Chi will be a good undertaking, but I have a rule requiring daily practice (with no more than one day off per week).

My body has been responding to both practices. Tai chi has seen some response in my right knee. I absolutely must turn with my waist, not the knee (not even a little). The knee is a hinge and must only move in the direction of my pointed toes. Tae Bo has seen more positive pain. The last few days have seen me with ab pain all over my torso. I attempted a set that was primarily ab work. Now the pain is gone, leaving me free to make another attempt. It will be the quickest way to a strong core.

This third week should see reasonable progress again, but more important is my daily practice. The more routine it gets, the closer I am to the path of mastery.

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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).

The book

I tracked down my copy of Mastery by George Leonard. It was about halfway down in a box of books that I seldom go through. Along with this book are some remnants of things I’ve started and never finished. Leonard talks about three types of people. I think they’re accurately described as three types of failures one might see (in oneself) on the road to mastery: The Dabbler, Obsessive, and Hacker. My activities, healthy lifestyles, exercise routines have at one time or another been victim to all of these.

Elsewhere in the book, Leonard says that quitting is often due to the body and mind’s natural resistance to change. This I’ve seen recently when last year I stopped working out and eating healthily. Forget that I had some sort of routine going. Ignore the fact that I was feeling more energized than ever!

People say that you shouldn’t do too much too soon. I find that the smaller the change I make, the more quickly I bounce back to poor habits. For me, ground rules are the most important part. A regimented daily routine also helps me. As this routine becomes more ingrained, I may be able to open up more flexibility.

I will take Chapter 11 to heart. A number of tools are presented and I plan to start with Maintain Physical Fitness and Set Your Priorities, along with Make Commitments, Take Action, of course. Therefore, I will come up with a list of tasks and priorities this evening. Atop the list, and most importantly, will be a morning and evening Physical Fitness routine.

The only problem I have with this process is one of Instruction. I understand that finding a good teacher is the most important part, and I agree. Teachers and classes, for most activities, are very expensive. I took Tai Chi until my school closed suddenly (it may have reopened with fewer classes). The entire school didn’t close, but the main branch of it is far away. (In retrospect, I should have continued on with the school). I’d love to restart, but one class per week was something like $50 a month. I’d have loved to take more classes, but now even one class at that price is very expensive for my family (my second child is due in about a month). I would like to see what can be cut from my personal budget (or a big raise would be nice), but I doubt if I could do this anytime in the next year or two. I’m sure there are things to cut, but we don’t live extravagantly.

Over the next few days, my plan will come together. I will discuss it here.