I highly encourage people to think skeptically and scientific as well using the self quantitative approach to self improvement, even when they're certain when their theory is right.
For example, I am measuring blood pressure, steps count, weight, blood sugar level, awake and sleep time everyday. I also just recently concluded that walking 10K steps have almost no effect on my weight or very subtle one.
In the future, when I finish my analysis, other people might decide to replicate my experiment or comes up with their own conclusion based on the data I gathered.
Although how one could test the idea proposed in the blog is unclear to me. I like the idea of having a clean desk or clean environment though. The ugly environment in my house doesn't appears to deter me from getting things done, though.
> walking 10K steps have almost no effect on my weight
If you're going to change and track something to test its correlation to weight, please consider calorie intake instead.
10k steps is really not going to burn many calories (my marathon running friends use the "1 mile = 100 calories" rule of thumb). Additionally, many people starting cardio see an increase in appetite and if they are not already used to carefully controlling their food intake, end up _gaining_ weight.
Having known many people who have made the 50 lbs. fat loss goal you're looking at (and having cut 25 lbs. myself), a major diet change is likely the only thing that'll get you there. If you continue to take in enough food to sustain yourself at ~200 lbs, nothing short of training like Michael Phelps will get you down to ~150 lbs.
I thought that until someone explained to me that the 100 calorie figure includes ALL the calories burned during the time the run takes.
If you run 10 miles in 1 hour that's about 1000 calories.
But lying on your back burns up 100 calories per hour.
So running only accounts for 900 or 90 per mile.
and also the number of cals burned is proportional to your weight to some extent.
On the flipside, exercise increases your metabolism during the rest of the day, typically more than offsetting your math. This effect is well-correlated with exercise intensity. Also, 100 calories/mile at 6 minute/mile pace is quite efficient unless you are very light (e.g., 140 lbs).
>(my marathon running friends use the "1 mile = 100 calories" rule of thumb)
Weight also impacts how many calories are burned. (http://caloriesburnedrunning.org/; not sure how accurate this particular site is, but I've seen similar results from other sites). A 6'6" person with a healthy BMI weight of 215 lbs would burn around 175 calories per mile at an 11.5 minute mile pace.
Despite this, as a tall person who runs a lot, I've found that a diet change is still really important if one wants to lose weight. (But after this is done, it is nice to go for a ten mile run on the weekend to cut a half pound that can be used as weight loss or to allow more eating throughout the rest of the week.)
I once dropped 50 lbs in about three months solely from returning to my previous running habit. At least according to my calculations, I was burning closer to 1000kcal/hour (more like 100kcal/km). I wasn't doing competitive-style twice a day training, either. Just one run, six days a week, usually for 60-90 mins at a BPM of <150. Once a week I ran 800m sprint repeats all-out, and two or three times a month I did a long run (which was increasing by about 10 minutes each time until I got it up to 4 hours).
All in all it averaged out to just over an hour of exercise per day, and the mental benefits more than made up that time in productivity. I didn't change my diet at all, except to eat a bit more after the long runs and possibly to eat a bit more cereal. And I lost just about every spare bit of fat on my body.
Just counting steps isn't very effective. You need to walk for a good long while at a time to use up your glycogen (stored sugar energy) and make your body dip into fat reserves. So if you spread out getting your steps you are less likely to do that. Similarly, there are heart rate complications. If you don't walk fast enough or throw in some interval work to get your heart rate up, you aren't getting as much exercise...
I don't have the equipment to test your hypothesis, but I think I can test an easier one: running a mile a day in addition to doing 10K steps in a certain period of time around the neighborhood. Crude, but predictable.
Try doing your walking first thing in the morning before breakfast. Lot's of bodybuilders use this technique when they are cutting for a contest. It's also a popular method because unlike cardio, walking has almost no detrimental effect on weight-training later in the day. I'd love to hear your results after keeping track of this.
Buy a heart rate monitor, they are dirt cheap, or just learn to accurately take your pulse. Then ensure you get your heart rate up to a set level for a set period. Walking burns next to nothing, it's good for your body for loads of other reason, and it's great for getting mobile, but will have a nominal affect on your body weight.
You don't mention if you are tracking food, which seems to be a major metric to miss out. I simply track approx carbs, which I find insanely easy.
Lastly other cheap metrics you could track are body fat (callipers cost next to nothing) which is easy to measure ESP with a friend helping, you can also track maximum widths. So what it the biggest part of you arm, leg, stomach, chest, neck, etc. just tracking weight is misleading as you could be dropping fat and gaining small amounts of muscle from your increased mobility.
Personally, I do slowcarbs (like low carbs but with pulses and beans) while weighing myself daily and taking body size and body fat measurements once a week. I've lost 15kg like this and dropped from 19 to 12% bodyfat. To get that drop I did no additional exercise, though now I cycle daily.
> The ugly environment in my house doesn't appears to deter me from getting things done, though.
The article is not very good at expressing its own point, unfortunately. This wasn't it.
Take periodic task A, such as making dinner or sitting down to work. You do this task on a mostly regular basis. Doing this task creates waste: a dirty sink, an unclean workspace, and so on. When you complete the task, it often seems like yet another task (B) to accomplish when tired to do the cleaning. Thus your workspace starts to degrade. The next time you need to do task A, you have to do task B first. You're psyched and ready to do task A, but you can't, because task B wasn't done. And task B is not what you're psyched for.
All the article is pointing out is that you need to do task B as soon as you're done with task A. That way, when you come back the next day to go for task A, you don't have a preliminary step to go through before you can really get started.
> Although how one could test the idea proposed in the blog is unclear to me.
Take any such pair of tasks and measure the time it takes to get started on the task pair over the course of a decent period of time, such as a month. Try to have a balance of which task is performed first. By "time it takes to get started", I mean the the delta between the time you say, "I should do task A", and the time you actually start doing either task.
Of course, that's subject to the observer effect: noting down the time at which you say you should do it will probably in itself incentivize you. Thus, it may be helpful to regularly schedule a task pair and note the offset from the scheduled time.
I found your article interesting. A quantitative approach to health worked very well for me. I used loseit.com to track calories, macro-nutrients, and exercise. By sticking to calorie limits, eating less than 20 net grams of carbs a day, and running three times a week with Couch to 5K I have lost 90 pounds over the last 11 months. My BMI went from 38 to 24.8. I have tried to lose weight many times before, but a quantitative approach made everything much easier for me. The real test however is going to be not gaining it back. I have just accepted that counting calories is something I will have to do the rest of my life because I am completely clueless about nutrition without numbers. I think you are on the right track. Health is different for every person, and unless people objectively look at what works and doesn't work for them individually, they will have a very difficult time finding a healthy lifestyle.
Holy shit. That is very impressive. What calorie limits did you pick?
Regarding eternal counting, two things that may help:
Yoga and meditation have both made me much more aware of the experience of my body. Before I would eat long past the level that I now recognize as "full". Often because I just didn't notice. (Reading while eating made that especially easy.) Now I find it much more easy to keep stable.
The other trick is one from Carol Lay's graphic memoir The Big Skinny. She weighs herself every day. If she's within her goal range, she just eats without worrying. If she's above the limit, she goes back to counting. (Her system is simpler; she just tracks raw calorie numbers, not full food lists.)