Focus is so important to being productive. Actually I’d say that it’s not only important in being productive but also in achieving sustained happiness! Why am I feeling this bullish on focus right now? Partly because I’m feel quite unfocused at the moment and its driving me nuts.
Ok, enough blog posting already.
Didn’t that old cowboy song go something like …
“don’t let yur boys grow up to luge riders”
Well it may have been cowboys but I think it would have been better advice had it been louge riders.
On the flip side, what sick twisted mind gravitates toward hurling themselves down a mountain, in a near friction-free yet highly constrained vehicle all with the hope of victory being assessed by your time beating your opponents by a fraction of a second? Whatever happemed to the risk / reward balance?
Well regardless, i’m enjoying all the oddities and amazing athletic feats that are the winter okympics.
I’m really liking markdown and I’m trying to incorporate it more more into how I get to my work done. Today’s addition is byword. Very clean and simple. Also let’s me post to the blog directly from the editor and in markdown. Too early too say it will stick but positive so far.
I went to Westminster University’s polyclinic group and had my body fat measured using a BodPod device. The BodPod uses oxygen displacement to measure body fat and is meant to be of similar in technique and accuracy as the traditional gold standard of water displacement.
Anyway, as my focus this year is first lowering my body fat percentage and then in trying to up my lean mass I thought I’d get a better measurement. The process itself is painless. Three 40 second tests and you’re done almost as soon as you start. My results were great too … 12.5% body fat! Less than I’d expected although possibly a bit low considering I had food poisoning over the weekend. In any case though a good number and officially 1/2 percentage point away from “lean”.
Besides just direct measurement my other goal was to calibrate this more precise tool with my home tools. I have both a foot and a handle measurement device. Both use the traditional “home tech” of electrical impedance which while not perfect does give a good trend line at the very least … but how accurate is it? Well in a calibration you need multiple points to really gauge so I’ll hold off on any formal statement only to say they were within a reasonable distance. I’ll do the BodPod test again in a few months and may have more to say then.
It was great seeing Melody this weekend and we had some great meals over the three days but unfortunately somewhere between the Friday night’s dinner at Dissenting Academy and Saturday night’s dinner at Nathan Outlaw we were introduced to a major league ass kicking from the “food poisoning” department. We’ve been relegated to the couch and bed all day. I finally ate something at 7:30pm and I think it’s going to stick but man-o-man did that hurt.
I weighed in at 13.6% body fat this morning. Wow. I'm a bit shocked how quickly it is coming off. Really need to shift focus to building lean mass (but not until I can claim a “six pack”).
Well it’s now February and my gluten, alcohol, dairy-free diet with low carbs is now behind me. As a parting gift I’ve moved from 17.5% body fat down to 14.9%. Pretty psyched about that and it’s gotten me believing again that I’ll be able to hit 12% by July.
Six pack abs, here we come. :^)
The BBC have just aired a special on “Fat versus Sugar” to address the growing dietary debate between which of these two macro-nutrients are least-good for us. Horizon is generally a well run show and this particular episode seemed ok but I felt it still missed some important things.
My thoughts really boil down to three main points:
- Individual testing is key. I think the underpinning of running a “self-experiment” on the two brothers was a good approach (of course as QS‘er that would be my point of view); sadly the biggest benefit to this approach is that people are quite unique in how they respond to stimulus. While self-experimentation may not be as “quantitative” as we all like, the commercial effectiveness of large double blind population studies is dubious in many cases for “population based data” and completely ineffective at understanding individual response. There is no substitute for individual testing and I wish the show could have identified this point more clearly (well mentioned it at all actually).
- You can’t aggregate individual results. The above point, however, is made worse by a common mistake that the show makes … one individuals response (or two people’s in this case) is in NO WAY representative of the population. It’s obvious when you think about it but yet people consistently rely on overly small sample sizes to carry validity. You might be thinking … didn’t he just contradict himself? Well no. What I’m saying is that an individual’s response does not make a good predictor of the overall population. However, an individual’s response DOES make a good predictor for that individual. For instance, my numbers for a month long test of a LCHF diet are not remotely similar to the subject in the show. Does that mean this is all a waste of time? That the numbers must be wrong? No. It means that our bodies are extremely complex systems and it should be expected that a relatively controlled input would produce a large standard deviation of results. The variance is a little known but undisputed fact and one that starts to highlight the way in which individual testing is highly complimentary to formal studies which only talk to population data.
- The “do nothing” message. With all good intentions, I think the experts — with notable exception to Robert Lustig — point subtly to a message that everyone should just “keep things in balance”, “no one thing makes a big difference” (with the possibly exception of the accepted villains of trans-fat and now the sugar/fat duo), and trying new things “can be dangerous”. These messages help to reinforce the status quo and ensure that new ideas are not explored with the vigour that they richly deserve. I’m not suggesting people should be taking risks with their health, I’m suggesting that for some individuals there are some transformative changes that they could make with very little (no?) sacrifice to their lifestyle. Let’s be clear, the reason that LCHF diets are gaining a cult following is that — at least in some important ways — they are producing results that people are excited about. In some cases these results are stunning, for other people they may not be, in yet others the results may be negative. It is worth finding out what the results are for you, it is an easy experiment, it is risk free, and it might lead to a much healthier you.
In the end, I don’t rate this episode of Horizons very highly because of the above points but I’m still glad that the topic of diet’s role in health is continuing to gain in credibility, interest, and coverage as I think its going to play an increasingly important role in 21st century health.
Kabuki travels to LA a fair amount these days (not to mention other destinations) for work and spent the past week there. Unlike other trips, though, she had less than 24 hours (closer to 12) back in London before boarding another plane for another week trip. At least this time the trip is for some R&R in Mustique; sadly not with me — and while I hope she enjoys it — Biscuit and I will be missing her from dreary London.
I really think Spotify is starting to shine in the “music discovery” category these days and this is an important category for me as I’m dangerously unplugged from the music scene otherwise. Anyway, here’s the most recent gem I’ve found:
The band is Nine Mile and I think I like every track on the album.