My Quantified 35th Year

I have a problem.

I can't commit to any personal plan that's not a long-running routine. If I don't have a sunk cost in a process, I find it too easy to abandon. This is why I fluctuate 20kg up and down year on year and why I abandon side projects.

For a bit of background on my fitness as a coder, see this post.

Anyway, this OCD is so strong that if I maintain a routine for 60 days and I miss one day, I'll go completely off rails - and I mean completely. From 20k step days, zero sugar and 5 days a week of sports to donuts and sitting all week, completely demoralized.

This can happen because I'm super tired because of my kid or travels, because I'm in meetings all day, because it was 46 degrees for 72 hours straight, or if I'm sick or something. But in most cases, with a bit of hard planning, all these deterrents can be avoided.

A Quantified Year

Today is my 34th birthday. 

I decided my 35th year would be a healthy one. After 10 years of 12-16 hour work days, it's time for the home stretch - regain my health before it's too late and my metabolism has crawled to a halt. Since it's all about discipline and building a routine, the plan is: walk, do sports, reduce carbs, increase water intake, remove alcohol.

But without pressure, I cannot do this. Usually, the pressure of sunk cost is enough - if I had been doing something for a while, or if I'm chasing a badge (have I mentioned I'm also a completionist?), then okay. But the initial ramp-up is most difficult, albeit also most rewarding as that's when most gains show. So to get over that initial hill, I'm committing to quantifying myself.

In a nutshell, I'm going to use all the technology at my disposal to log, analyze, and publish all the information about my progress for the next 365 days. Specifically:

  1. I'll use my Garmin Fenix 5 to log steps and do 20k steps every day, except on days when I run 15km (that's 15000 steps at a much higher heart rate).  See how to easily achieve 20k steps in this post.
  2. I will do at least one sport activity at least 4 days per week. Any activity above 30 minutes counts: weights, bouldering, jogging, swimming, squash, VR cardio games like Beat Saber or boxing. HIIT counts too, despite being 10-15 minutes only. Measuring tool is also Garmin, plus an added chest HRM for precise jogging analytics.
  3. I will track all my calories as accurately as I can and aim to finish each day with at least 500 kcal deficit.
  4. Alcohol is completely forbidden. Having consulted with the wife, it seems this is unreasonable. Will try to keep alcohol to a minimum, but apply the same rule as for sugars (net 0) - see below.
  5. Sugars are completely forbidden, unless they are nullified with an exercise of the same calorie weight in the same day (to spend that same sugar). For example, eating a 500kcal slice of carrot cake requires that I go for a 45 minute jog to offset that amount to 0.
  6. I will drink at least 2L of water every day (not a problem, given 1.) Why?
  7. I will do my best (this is not a guarantee, however) to log my emotional state given certain categories at the end of every day. I'll try and use Daylio Exist for that (changed because Daylio is a separate app, while Exist is a dashboard which I'll use for more than just mood tracking).

    I've done this before and data-mined my happiness but using my own tool, and this is what helped me realize that JavaScript was making me absolutely miserable and what prompted my move from web dev to blockchain. Best decision ever. Note that I will not be publishing this information publicly during the year, only once the experiment is over.

So where will I publish the logs?

You can keep an eye on my sports / steps progress on my Garmin profile. You can keep my weight, dieting, and water intake habits in check on MyFitnessPal. I will also probably make a daily tweet about that day's progress at the end of the day and once a month I hope to make a monthly recap post (or maybe weekly? Not sure yet). Please feel free to shame me if you see me fail any of the goals above.

I might even add some monetary pledging into the mix...

But first, it's my birthday. I want to go out with a bang and there's a cheesecake with my name on it.

See you tomorrow.



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