From May to July of this year I documented a way of living to foster better health and happiness that had the nifty little side effect of saving the world. I called this The Karma Sense Eating Plan. Over the course of the last several weeks, I decided to open the kimono (it’s purple if you were wondering) and demonstrate how to apply the building blocks of the plan to achieve a very complex and specific goal. I’m using my own goal to demonstrate and I’m recording the process as I go.
Most of the previous posts in this series showed how to develop the plan and turn them into specific action steps that will get me to my goal. In this post, we’ll complete the planning process and show the initial stages of implementation. As I said before, if the mechanics of developing your own Karma Sense Eating Plan for better health, happiness and world-saving isn’t of interest to you, I suggest you stop reading and wait until my next post that no doubt will reference the rude noises and 1970s cartoons that we all know and love.
But, if you want to take steps towards a longer more active life; if you want and deserve to walk through life with a feeling of contentment and satisfaction; and if you want to make the world a better place; if the only thing stopping you is that you don’t know where to start, you just may want to continue reading.
If you’re coming to this series in the middle, there’s a great summary of The Karma Sense Eating Plan in this post.
If you’re interested in getting getting caught up on the previous steps that got me to this point, this post starts off with a summary. But the most important part in everything written so far is to know that I have a goal to improve my body composition by 5% by doing some combination of building muscle and losing fat. I’d rather do it by building muscle but understand that my age and preferred lifestyle may inhibit my success. There isn’t much I can do about my age. There’s only so much I’m willing to do about my lifestyle. The Karma Sense Eating Plan accounts for all these things and allows me to follow a process that honors those lifestyle constraints while still moving me towards my goal. The last step in developing my plan helps me get there. That step is…
Step 7 – Factor in Compliance
As it relates to The Karma Sense Eating Plan, “compliance” means the percentage of time I expect to stick to my plan. Compliance should be driven by the specifics and timeline of my goal. It also must consider those constraints in my lifestyle that may make it impossible to stick to the plan at any given time. For you this may include things such as a traditional family dinner on Sunday that you simply can’t or won’t concede. Finally, compliance is driven by the recognition that it is unreasonable and even undesirable to expect 100% discipline in life.
In the description of the Plan component, I propose assigning your compliance target based on a percentage. For example, let’s say you eat 3 meals each day. That’s 21 meals each week. If you plan for 90% compliance, that would mean 2 meals per week can be “cheat” meals.
For my plan, I’m planning to manage compliance differently. I’ve arbitrarily decided that for one weekend day each week, I won’t pay attention to the plan. Because I am fasting 16 hours every day and restricting my eating to an eight-hour period, this roughly equates to 90% compliance.
I’m pushing my luck here. I already know my goal will be difficult. If I find I’m not moving towards my goal, there are a limited number of knobs I can adjust to improve things. I can adjust calories and macronutrients, physical activity, or reduce my noncompliance. I’m OK with this situation. I’m one of those people who does better starting off with a forgiving plan and modifying it accordingly if things aren’t progressing how I like. Other people do better starting off with an aggressive plan in which they see quick results and easing off when things start to get harder.
That’s it for Step-7 is. So time to look at…
In my real life (versus the Back to the Future-like documentation in this blog in which I write about things in the recent past), I was past Step-7 more than three weeks ago. Now I have some real data to work with. In the previous post in this series, I showed what one of the tracking sheets for my plan would look like. The Karma Sense habits I would adopt look like this when placed in a tracking table.
Here is what that looks like after completing week 1.
It’s premature to start analyzing results, even after three weeks. But it’s not too soon to make some early observations of the process just by looking at the first week.
- As indicated by the first row full of Y’s, the fasting part is not a challenge for me.
- The next four rows full of L’s (for low, as in under the goal), H’s (for high), and the occasional Y indicate that hitting the calorie and marconutrient goals will be an issue. I’m not going to get the body composition change I’m looking for if my protein and calories are below the target. I’ve been keeping a detailed food diary so I have a good idea where each stands on each day. What I’ve learned is that eating the high amounts of protein required is really hard. It’s simply too much food. I know some things I can do to address this issue, but this is one of those lifestyle changes that I’m not convinced is worth it. We’ll discuss this in future posts.
- Lowering my alcohol intake appears to be easy. I had one transgression on Friday when my wife and I went out to dinner, ordered a bottle of wine, and finished it. I’ll reveal some other challenges in future posts that occurred in weeks two and three.
- In week one, I was good about remembering my branched chain amino acid (BCAAs) supplements before working out. My compliance is still not 100% in later weeks.
- If I’m truly going to use one day a week for non-compliance, there is no room for non-compliance on other days.
- The table above says nothing about my weight progress for week 1, and it would be meaningless anyway. I ended the week half a pound heavier than when I started and the day-to-day fluctuation was as much as a pound per day. My body fat percentage stayed constant so this would mean I gained muscle without gaining fat. Atually, it would mean that if I didn’t know the body fat measurement from my scale is total joke. Even if it was correct, to really meet my goal I want to lose 5% from my current body fat percentage. So building muscle without losing weight (as fat) is the only option. Staying the same weight won’t get me there. There is so much to say on weighing yourself and body fat percentage measurements that I’ll reserve that for a future post. I’ve already said much about the subject in my post about SMART goals.
That’s all for now. My next post will probably be about a health or nutrition subject of more general interest. Then it will be back to my personal Karma Sense Eating Plan.