Eight weeks ago, I posted my Fat Loss Game. It was a smashing success! I turned my limbic system against itself so that every time it tried to get me to do something that was counterproductive to fat loss, the fear of losing “points” would kick in and save me. The result is that I lost about 5% body fat, from about 24% to about 19%. I had to buy new jeans! So awesome!
The goal is still 15%, however. I want to see some abs in the mirror! Right now I can see the outline, so I’m getting close. I’m going to shoot for hitting 15% in seven weeks, when Daylight Savings Time starts.
In order to get there, I’m updating my system to account for how I’ve adapted and what I’ve learned about myself. First off, complexity is good for me, because it holds my attention. Eating well is easy; getting to the gym is hard. If my sleep schedule gets out of whack, I kind of stop caring and just lose points. The 2-2-2 rule for alcohol is amazing, and I need to keep it going.
One thing I’m going to do is change from stars to a letter grade. I got straight A’s in high school, except for one B, and I know how that B feels, even to this day. I’m going to make this just like a normal class: 90% and up is an A. (No plus or minus.)
Given the huge overlap between fat-loss and life-regulation, I’m calling the new system “Regulated Day”, and here’s how it will work:
- There will be 250 points available to earn in the week, for living regulated days
- There will be penalties that can detract from that total, like by breaking the 2-2-2 rule
- There will be a little bit of extra credit, so I can weasel my way back up to an A if I really try
Here’s the breakdown of the 250 points available to earn:
- A regulated morning is one in which I am getting up around 7:00, I have my teeth brushed by 7:30 (good habit, and a sure sign that I am “up”), I’ve done some quick cardio (three sprints if physically capable, 100 jumping jacks otherwise) by 8:00 [added 2/1], and I’ve eaten a 200 calorie breakfast (if not fasting) by 8:30 [modified 2/1]; if I have work, I’m out the door by 9:00. If I do all of these things correctly, I get 10 points. If I do all but one of these things correctly, I get 5 points. There are seven mornings in a week, so 70 points possible.
- A regulated afternoon is one in which I plan my eating so that I’m neither hungry or full before going to the gym, and I have to be through the gym doors by 7:00. (The “gym” is just wherever I do full cardio that day.) If I do this correctly, I get 5 points. Since this makes no sense on fasting days, only the six non-fasting afternoons will count, so 30 points possible.
- A regulated evening is one in which I do full cardio (HR above 145 bpm for at least 35 minutes in a 40 minute period), eat a 400-800 calorie dinner, eat nothing after 9:00, be in bed with lights out (not needing to get up for anything) by midnight, and actually get more than four hours of sleep. After fasting, neither cardio nor dinner is necessary. Lights out allows for meditation. Same scoring as mornings, so 70 points possible.
- A day-long fast is a 24-hour period eating no food, starting either on a Friday or Saturday evening around 8:00 and lasting at least 24 hours, during which it is fine to drink water and some very-low calorie drinks like black coffee. This is worth 20 points.
- A sober day is one in which I drink no alcohol (with the slight exception that I can taste someone else’s drink if it’s new). I only care to count five of them a week. Each is worth 8 points, so 40 possible.
- An errand is some non-weekly task, planned at least two days in advance, that requires at least 20 minutes of time and contributes to the general order of my life. I care to count two as required and one as extra credit. Each is worth 5 points, so 10 possible (+5 extra credit).
- A milestone is a significant amount of progress made on an ongoing project that requires at least an hour. I care to count one as required, and it’s worth 10 points.
Here are the penalties:
- A bedtime penalty is 4 points per hour after midnight, starting at 1:00, not having gone to bed.
- A drink penalty is 20 points per drink after the second drink in a day. One normal-sized bottle of any beer is one drink, but a large (20+ oz) beer on tap is two drinks. One normal-sized shot of liquor is one drink. A quarter of a normal-sized bottle of wine is one drink.
- A drink purchase penalty is 60 points if I buy any alcohol (besides in medical products), even if I don’t consume it. [Added on 2/1, based on several-month-old hard rule]
- A drinking day penalty is 25 points for having a non-sober day either the day after another non-sober day or the day after any six-day period with two or more non-sober days (this is the rest of the 2-2-2 rule, spelled out).
- A food penalty is 12 points (6 if accidental) for every helping of food (a meal or even just a handful of snackage) that falls short of the complex JERF purity laws in my head.
- A late penalty is 9 points for showing up late to any meeting or appointment.
- A supplements penalty is 5 points every day that I fail to take any supplements I determined to take daily at the beginning of the week [added 2/1]
- A wasted day penalty is 15 points for spending any three hours of any five hour period either playing a video game or watching Hulu/Netflix/TV/movies, with an exception for movies that are actually longer than three hours.
Here is the extra credit:
- A clean room credit is 7 points for having a completely navigable room for at least three out of seven days, and vacuuming it once.
- An education credit is 1 point for every day (or 2 if consecutive) I complete a half-hour language-learning module.
- A maintenance credit is 4 points for giving myself a haircut, doing a load of laundry, and watering the plants.
- A progress credit is 3 points for every 0.1% body fat lost in the week. In the end, it’s about results, not rules.
- A sick credit is up to 20 points, available only when too sick to work out, that would otherwise be deducted from two regulated afternoons and two regulated evenings by not going to the gym and not doing cardio, respectively.
- A steps credit is 2 points every day the FitBit goes off because I took over 9000 steps.
- A third errand credit is 5 points for doing another errand after the required two.
- A weights credit is 12 points for completing the weekly set of four weight-training workouts and feeling good about them.
So that’s it. I’m only going to allow myself two updates to the point values over the next seven weeks [one used on 2/1]. As before, I will post my score and letter grade to Facebook and on my work monitor every Monday morning.