Fitness Project, Part I: Current State

“The meal is not over when I’m full?! The meal is over when I hate myself.” – Louis C.K., Live from Carnegie Hall

We have all struggled with body weight and maintaining good health at some point in our lives. It’s a long journey.  Shortcuts will only push you further from your goal. I was not happy with my weight – and more importantly – I was not maximizing my body’s full fitness potential. Work was stressful. Cooking and planning took time. I sat for many straight hours. In general, I was not handsoming as hard as I would have liked.

At 185lbs. Circa 2014. Those hips. They simply do not lie.

I am not a piecemeal type of guy (i.e. skip meals, lose 3 lbs, binge, sans tracking). I need things built properly from the ground up. I need time to plan my way into a fit lifestyle, and a better, stronger, faster, and healthier me. I need a list of risks, potential issues, schedules, resources, expert advice, tools, budgets, and milestones.

I only knew one way to effectively reach my goals and sustain this future health equilibrium:

I had to project-manage the shit out of it.

Over the course of 12 months I executed a series of planned tasks that affected my diet, fitness level, mental and emotional well-being – and even my career. Each task was given a level of complexity and priority. They were then grouped, monitored and re-adjusted when needed. Data was collected using different digital health tools to generate accurate reports.

It worked. And like any well-led project, this too met it’s scheduled closure. I then conducted a final post-launch review. I listed the successes and setbacks at each phase. Finally, a maintenance and support plan was put into place to solidify these lifestyle changes. My body was essentially ‘re-tuned’. I now had the knowledge to accurately predict the results of a variable change (i.e. increased ice cream and cake intake over the course of multiple days) – and make the necessary adjustments to quickly revert to a previous state. Essentially, I implemented branching as a method of revision control. My own personal git.

Part I – Current State

To address and resolve a problem, the issue must first be investigated and understood clearly and objectively. Risks to project success are often associated to underestimating or simply not understanding the business objective – and the state of your current product.

I was approximately 30 lbs or 13.6 kg over-weight. My BMI had pushed itself beyond the healthy 24.9 mark. My blood pressure was above normal or healthy. I have attached my full specs below. This was my quantitative. These figures and statistics described my ‘Current State’.

Start Weight  185lbs / 84kg
BMI  27.3
Ave Blood Pressure  140/80
Height  5’9″ / 1.80m
Daily Calorie Consumption  +2500
Workouts per Week  3 (mix of cardio and some weight lifting)
Sugar and Sodium Daily Intake Oh good Lord, who knows?!
Waist  36.5 curvy inches

I then listed all the things I knew I was doing wrong: overeating at meals, excessive desserts, unhealthy snacks during the day, daily sodium and sugar consumption. Sitting. General unhappiness at the office. Note that stress (as I believe there is stress in any working environment) did not play a factor in my calculations. Happiness and overall job satisfaction, did. I looked at my sleeping patterns. I used Fitbit to gather this data. I counted calories. I did not change my overall eating habits during this initiation phase. I needed benchmarks first.

I took a long hard objective look at myself. Only then was I able to clearly identify the problems, and the internal and external factors that attributed to my Current State.

I sought expert and non-expert advice from others. What works for them. Their general activity levels. Their eating habits.

Once I had collected all this data, only then did I begin setting goals, and constructing a project plan. This included many project management processes. The plan also adhered to established PMP principles.

Oh, and this project would adopt an agile approach for it’s execution methodology. This encourages constant feedback from project stakeholders (i.e. my wife), facilitate changes faster and more effectively, and result in project transparency. No short cuts. No surprises.

But lots of sprints (both figuratively and literally).

Next time…

Part II – The Goal. The Plan. The Team.

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