Cloud-Sourcing Motivation

So I’ve read and experimented with a lot of different food programs, from Atkins to vegetarian and including such oddities as intermittent fasting. I’ve got a pretty good sense for what works for my physiology and psychology. However, it’s been four years since I stuck to one well enough to maintain optimal health, and ten years since I successfully used one to reach a specific target body composition. I need additional motivation.


Just “trying harder” and expecting things to change long-term is a bit naive initially, but once you’ve done it a couple of times and failed, it approaches the definition of insanity. I need to change the game. So I intend to hack my motivation using the two greatest tools of the hacker: creativity and theft. Just kidding, but I am going to “borrow” from the successful hacks of others and creatively apply them to myself.



“What gets measured, gets managed.” -Dr. Peter Drucker


I’ve brought this up before, and I know it’s effective, so I’ve started recording what I eat in the form of a photo diary. I’m also tracking my weight as well as the circumference of my arms, legs, waist, and hips.


Unfortunately, I’m forgetful and I often forget to photograph my meals, so I’ve made a deal with my co-workers that if they ever see me eat anything without photographing it first, I owe them a euro. They’re not always around though, and I’m already doing as much for Emily as I can, so I don’t have an easy way to give her an incentive.


So I’m going to ask you for help.


I will upload pictures of everything I eat to FaceBook and the first person who detects that I’ve missed a meal will get a euro ($1.43 right now) by PayPal. I don’t want to spam your FaceBook news feeds with food pictures so I’ll upload in batches every few days. Since the updates won’t be real time, you’ll need to look through the pictures to find a evidence that I missed a meal in order to claim your euro. It’s won’t be too complicated as I typically eat just three times a day right now. If I have a late night snack and forget to record it, I’ll try to mention it in the caption for the following breakfast, so the first person to read that comment and “catch” my slip will claim the euro.


There’s no limit to the number of times you can claim euros from me.


I will warn you – my current eating plan includes a weekly cheat day, and that day gets complicated, as I tend to eat a tremendous amount of indulgent foods all day long. Again, if *I* know I missed something, I’ll put it in the caption of the following meal or snack and the first person to catch it gets a euro. Cheat days are complicated, but they’re also when I’m most likely to forget to record something, so it could be worth your while. :-)


This may seem extreme, but the goal is worth it and I’m taking advantage of several psychological hacks simultaneously: fear of loss (the euro), fear of embarrassment (so try to talk some smack in your FB comment if you do catch me slipping up), and increasing awareness by measurement.


I will also be posting my other measurements (weight and inches), but I don’t yet intend to create any sort of contest around them, so making them public is only hacking by fear of embarrassment at this point. That being said, another hack is to use competitive motivation, so if any of you are working (or feel like you should be) on improving your body composition and want to join me in a game of inches, we can compete with each other.


I didn’t mention the actual goal: 12% body fat by Christmas. Additionally, I want my LDL cholesterol to be below 100 mg/dL, HDL above 60 mg/dL, triglycerides below 150 mg/dL, and my resting heart rate below 60 bpm.



Comments are closed.