I’m going to perform a scientific experiment for the second half of Cottonwood Height’s Biggest Loser Camp. This experiment comes from the fact that I’ve seen little progress during the first half of the competition and I’ve worked very hard, or at least I think I have. Our mid-camp weigh-in is this Wednesday and so far I’ve only lost 2.4 pounds which is less than a pound a week. Although those results are not terrible, I still want to see if I can improve my progress with simple observation and accounting. I’ll call it my scientific diet.
The experiment I’m proposing was inspired by a thought expressed in my previous post titled Addicted to Losing. I would like to test the theory stated in that post that overall health of an individual is composed of two components that are directly related: physical fitness and psychological well-being.
Question: Can I affect one component of my overall health without directly affecting the other? More specifically, if I improve my physical fitness by the end of the Biggest Loser Competition, THEN will I automatically be happier?
In order to measure physical fitness I’ll compare my weigh-in results from the beginning of the Biggest Loser Camp to my results at the end of the camp. The instrument used by Cottonwood Heights Rec Center is the TBF-300 Body Composition Analyzer made by Tanita. The analyzer reports body composition by measuring and computing total weight, impedance, fat mass, fat-free mass, water weight, body fat %, BMR, and BMI, (based on height and age input.) I’ll explain these terms in an immediate subsequent post titled TBF-300 Body Composition Analyzer.
Beginning Wednesday, Feb. 19 I’ll use an app named My Fitness Pal to maintain a daily food intake and exercise diary. Up to this point in the competition I have not accounted for food or exercise. It is my opinion that the lack of accounting is responsible for my tedious progress. I’ve monitored the food I’ve eaten and I’ve exercised 3 to 4 times a week, but I have not taken an account of calories in and calories burned. My Fitness Pal will help me do just that.
Tracking psychological well-being could prove a little more difficult. I’ll have to consider my mood at this moment as base line and begin tracking daily encounters with other people as a sort of pulse to my well-being over the course of the next 4 weeks. Initially I’ll record each encounter and personal interaction throughout the day. All positive interactions will be counted in the good mood column and all neutral or negative interactions will be recorded in the bad mood column. My thought is that if I’m truly in a good mood then my attitude should be genuine and infectious enough to elicit a good mood in another person thus promoting a positive interaction. I’ll work from the assumption that as others read my body language and make judgments accordingly they will mimic my mood in response. In conjunction, I’ll consider recording hugs and handshakes. I won’t count sympathy hugs or professional greetings, but rather symbols of positive personal connections like back slaps and knuckle taps. Likewise, negative gestures will receive points in the bad mood column.
Another important aspect of mental well-being relates to sleep patterns. I’ll track my sleep patterns such as uninterrupted sleep versus insomnia. I’ll include dreams where appropriate. (This part should be entertaining.) I might even ask Max to depict some of my dreams as Max Art cartoons for your enjoyment. Bad dreams or no dreams (due to insomnia) will be counted in the bad mood column and all other dreams will infer uninterrupted sleep and will be counted in the good mood column. This is the simplest way to score them since dreams are subject to personal interpretation and may or may not occur regardless of duration of sleep.
I’ll chart my daily progress and report to you once a week for the next 5 weeks. My goal is to win first place at Cottonwood Heights Biggest Loser camp AND to be happy. These two things should go hand-in-hand. If I end up winning the contest and find myself anxious and miserable then I’ll have to reconsider my theory that physical fitness and emotional well-being are directly linked, OR consider that there is something else in my life thwarting my happiness.
Ultimately, I hope to improve my overall progress simply by monitoring and recording my efforts.
Wish me luck.