September 23rd, 2008

Creating a Health Decision Scorecard

I’ve written before about how important it is to focus on your decisions and not the results. With good decisions will come good results over time. Results can be fleeting and it is very easy to get frustrated when you don’t see the immediate results to what you thought were good decisions.

The primary scorecard I use right now is my weight loss graphs page, which is primarily a scorecard of results. My weight trends, BMI, body fat, waist measurement, etc. I think it is very important to track your results and in fact I don’t track nearly as many measurements as I would like. It’s hard to track things when you aren’t going in the direction you would like but I’ll tell you it sure keeps you motivated on keeping up with it. My problem is I need more and more motivation, but eventually I will get those damned charts going in the right direction! That is the power of using a scorecard of results.

However, as I mentioned it is important to focus on decisions. Did you do the things you need to do to achieve the results you are looking for? To that end as of yesterday I started a simple Excel database where I will track on a daily basis my decisions from an overall health perspective. This is a work in progress and I see it changing over time, because right now it is really, really simple.

Here are the fields I am currently tracking:

Brush Teeth

Remember, this is a health scorecard not just diet and exercise.


I’m just taking glucosamine and chondroitin right now.


Measured in ounces. I’m looking for at least a gallon a day.


This is the one part I need to flesh out more but to start with I’m just tracking whether I broke a sweat (as part of exercising) or not.

Morning Snack
Afternoon Snack
No Food After 8

I’m still working on the formula I’m going to use to determine my overall daily score but I didn’t want that to hold me up from starting to record my results. I know I was more diligent yesterday knowing I was keeping a scorecard. I’m hoping I can keep that up.

How about you? Do you keep track of just your results? What daily decisions do you/would you track?

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September 21st, 2008

Weekly Update - 9/21/2008

  • Diet starting weight: 295
  • Week starting weight: 280
  • Today’s weight: 277
  • Week weight loss: 3 lbs
  • Total weight lost: 18 lbs

It’s hard to get excited about losing 3 pounds when I have gained about 15 pounds from my low for the year. But what I am happy about is the fact I’m still here plugging away, trying to get back to posting my weekly results be they good or bad. I started the week off well with a little strength training on Monday, which included getting back on the Hundred Pushups Challenge. But that was it for the week as my busy schedule just caught up with me. I know, excuses, excuses. As an example, yesterday we had a Soccer Jamboree where we had 6 games across the two teams that I coach - we were outside playing or watching soccer from about 9:15 - 5:00. A long day under the sun which just wiped me out (not having sunscreen on didn’t help). Sure, that’s not even a full working day but of course there were other things as well. I know, I’m just making excuses.

Things I did well this week:

  • I’m still trying, that’s about all I can say this week

Things I did not so well this week:

  • Too many binges
  • Mentally, I am not on a diet. I have to get that fixed ASAP.
  • Did not utilize meal replacement shakes
  • No cardio, minimal strength training
  • I’m not drinking enough water
  • Mentally, I am not on a diet. I have to get that fixed ASAP.

Losing weight is hard. So much of it is mental. This is where I know I need a lot of help. I’m going to try to keep focused on writing here, focused on recording my stats. I’ve “met” a number of dedicated success stories through their blogs and I am hoping to get to know them better in the hopes that some of that success can rub off on me. Winter will be here before I know it and it is critical I get into a fitness state of mind before that, because it would be too easy to spend the winter moping about not being successful.

Instead, I want to spend the winter getting prepared to surprise people in the spring.

September 10th, 2008

Losing Weight is Hard

Creative Commons License photo credit: ladybugbkt

This was going to be my week.  Once again I’ve been slipping but I’ve been at least thinking about what I need to do to get back on track.  Monday was going to be a hard day for me, but I was prepared for it and I was looking forward to getting through Monday as a great start to what would be a good week, but it didn’t happen.  Instead I had a bad start to what has turned into a bad week.

So what happened?  At work on Monday we had a potluck “tailgating” party in celebration of that night’s Monday Night Football game between the Minnesota Vikings and Greenbay Packers, NFL teams which have a great rivalry that extends to the employees in our office.  I’ve known about this party for a couple of weeks, and had signed up to bring a shrimp dip and crackers.

Occasionally last weekend I was thinking about Monday and thought briefly about the need to have a good week and the challenge of the tailgating party. Then on Monday morning as I was driving to work I put a plan in place for how I was going to participate in the party (by bringing the shrimp dip) but not eat anything, because I know myself well enough to know that an open-table buffett, potluck eating smorgasbord is not good for me.  

I’ve got a 70 minute drive so I had a lot of time to walk through the various scenarios and steel myself against what I would be faced with.  I was ready with a banana for a snack and I was prepared to leave the office for lunch, even though free lunch was being offered.  I had even, in my mind, written a blog post where I congratulated myself on getting through the challenge.  I was all ready.

So I don’t know how I went from all of that planning, to having a nibble.  And then a plate.  And then another plate.  And then some dessserts.  This was all at 10:00am in the morning.  Then round two in the afternoon.  Another plate of food and another plate of desserts.  I literally ate myself sick.

It is so frustrating, there is some switch somewhere in my head that somehow gets tripped, even with all of the great planning that I did.  There must be some other piece of planning I need to do but I don’t know what it is.  I must not be 100% committed to this, and I don’t know how to get there.

Losing weight is hard and it really sucks.

August 31st, 2008

Gillian McKeith’s Food Bible

Last month I was sent a copy of Gillian McKeith’s Food Bible: The Complete A-Z Guide to a Healthy Life as part of a publicity campaign for the book. As I always do, I accepted the book with the understanding that should I write a review, it would be my honest opinion, whether I liked the book or not. I am pleased to say that I have not yet had a company balk when I made this clear.

It was not until I received the book that I remembered where I had heard of Gillian McKeith before. She is the author of the popular You Are What You Eat and the host of the BBC show of the same name.

Overall, I liked the book. While there are a few unique aspects of her diet recommendations (such as eating “pulses” or seaweed) in general she advocates a lot of the things I know I should be doing. Drinking more water. Slowing down when I eat. Eating more earlier in the day and less and night. Avoiding processed foods. For about the first third of the book, McKeith offers an introduction to her health philosophies and presents a “master class” on healthy eating.

The rest of the book is the A-Z aspect and unlike what you might think by the title “Food Bible” this is not an A-Z of foods, neccessarily, but of conditions and the like as well. Everything you need to know about getting and staying healthy.

As an example, under V we have just one entry for “Varicose Veins” with a couple of pages describing what they are and how to avoid them, focusing primarily on the eating regimen aspect.

I think the book offers a unique perspective and would be an interesting read for anyone looking to learn more about their health.

August 31st, 2008

John is Fit - Now with Google Sitelinks!

The last couple of weeks have been extremely busy with coaching two soccer teams and what seems to have been an unusually high numbers of parties. I’ve been eating until sick and not exercising. It hasn’t been pretty. I’m going to kick start things (yet again) on Monday with a new plan that I believe is going to make a real difference for me. In the meanwhile, I’m going to crank out a few posts I’ve been meaning to write about.

John is Fit Sitelinks

I’m not sure when it happened but Google finally looked down on this humble blog and setup some sitelinks for me. See the picture to the left, or see it live in the search results for john is fit.

Now the benefits of having sitelinks are pretty minimal for a blog like mine. Do a search for apple to see how they might be more useful, for example.

That doesn’t mean I’m not going to try to optimize them, however. According to Google these links are created automatically but they have an interface in their webmaster tools that allows you to block certain links from showing. For example, I submitted a block on the Chow Chow Corgie Puppy sitelink because it doesn’t fit with the theme of my blog (not to mention we now think she is a Shiba Inu!). The link still shows but I suspect it will be off soon.

Part of the reason why I blog is that I am fascinated with new things like this. It’s fun, although not rewarding in any tangible way, to see this sort of “recognition.”

Do a search for your blog or any search result where you are #1 - do you have Google sitelinks?