Week 7 – Can LifeSparcs Make a Diet Work?

                                Feeling Lucky?

I hesitated to write this one, since it has to do with dieting and I just started and I feel like its bad luck to talk about it “going well” too soon. Yet, here I am doing it anyway.  That’s right – I’m on a diet, but more interestingly, LifeSparcs techniques are helping me, and they might help you.

Let me back up. The STEF model, Search – Track – Engage – Filter. I discussed that here, but in short its a mental model to approach life in an open and iterative way. So how did that help me get on this diet and start seeing success?  Lets take it one step at a time:

Search – Well, this one is easy when it comes to dieting.  You put on a pair of pants that used to fit, and then…well…they’re a little tight. Then that picture of you shows a profile that you might not think fits you. Maybe even the belt needs another notch. This feedback is blips on your search radar.  They tell you something is up. To pay attention.

Tracking – Here we’re tracking our weight, trying to exercise, trying everything.  LifeSparcs deals with staying motivated, but it wasn’t working for me. No matter how much I’d try, staying motivated enough to count every calorie AND hit the gym for hours per week were just beyond my abilities. I found that tracking in this way was far too detailed for my personality type. I needed something else. I had to move back up to Search.  

Search#2:   Searching is about being open, and somehow I found this book: Why We Get Fat, by Gary Taubes. The audaciously titled work was available at the library, so I took a shot.   It blew my mind.  Now, I knew carbs were a commonly stated culprit of weight gain, but the strength of what Mr. Taubes presented his data, plus my own readiness to accept the information, made for an incredible shift for me. I realized that counting carbs would be much easier than counting calories. After the holidays I dove in to a low carb diet that eventually morphed from Paleo-esque to Keto.

Tracking #2 – I was initially tracking the Paleo diet, but it seems rather restrictive since it disallows cheese. Sorry, but if I’m not going to do bread, I need some dairy. I was also tracking the other low carbs and found the Ketonic diet. I decided after some reading to Engage.

Engagement –  Now I’m doing it. I’m doing the day to day execution, but now I’m armed with two powerful techniques.  First – a great app called CarbManager, is simply priceless (well, its actually 4 bucks…don’t be cheap).  Then I saw Ketone strips. This was HUGE for me, because I want to be graded by an objective measure. For those who don’t know, these strips measure the ketones in your pee. If you test positive, that means you’re burning energy from your liver, and not the easy carb-based energy sources that keep you from losing fat.  Better tracking = more success!   Say you’re at a restaurant and you eat what you think is okay, but who knows what sort of carbs that plate of pasta had?  Well, with these strips you can see if your transgressions knocked you out of Ketosis ( sounds scary, but isn’t).  Its like a report card, but in a good way. Superbowl Sunday knocked me out, but in a day or two I was back in. This is far better than using a scale for feedback since body weight is so variable.

In this discussion you can hear a lot of Filtering. I filtered old ideas (calorie counting) for new ones ( carb counting). Filtering is a core concept of STEF model, and possibly one of the hardest. Future posts will talk about how best to filter.

Now I’m in engagement. Engagement is the day to day struggle. Its the SPARC model, where we iterate our weeks, reward our good behaviors, and blend our life goals into our daily plans.  The Keto diet is now part of that for me.

I’ll start sharing weight loss numbers as the become more impressive, but for now, I’m searching for some good exercises that I can combine with my new eating style.  I’m tracking now to doing the Seattle Rock and Roll 1/2 marathon….but more on that later!

Any low-carbers out there? What foods do you eat? Good recipes?  There’s only so much eggs a man can eat! 🙂

Till next time,

-Joe Fecarotta

For review, the SPARC Process is shown below. Answer the questions for yourself and win!

Week 7 – Health Focus!
Situation – What is your health situation like?
Possibility – How could you turn it around, even just a bit, this week?
Action – A list of actions that you think you could finish to start you down a healthier path
Renewal – How can you reward yourself for trying to be more healthy? Movies? Buying a new book? Hanging with friends?
Collect and Coach – What have you tried? What books have you read? Articles?  Good sources? Friends?  Who has done this weight loss thing in your network? Have you spoken to them?
For more on SPARC process, visit LifeSparcs.com

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