Day 101: The Improvement Spiral

With Day 100 yesterday, my question to myself is “…so why aren’t I finished?” It seems like 100 days is plenty of time to get something done. Drop weight, get an exercise routine down, figure out a good eating plan. When you frame it like that, it seems like 100 days is a load of time. And I start feeling kind of bleak. But I think this whole thing works like kind of an improvement spiral, not an improvement… line? ramp? Whatever.

I’m doing better, on the whole. No question. Alcohol intake is down across the board, exercise is more regular. I hit a new distance milestone in running today, at 12k. Diet is… well, that’s a work in progress. Sleep is a new area of focus. But I have to accept that it’s an ups and downs process.

I talk about the “trend line” a lot, and it’s a good model to follow… rather than freaking myself out with daily weight, I check general progress over time. On the whole, though, the ‘improvement spiral’ is how I mentally frame this whole deal.

The improvement spiral improves incrementally and inconsistently.

There’s a thing in game design called “variable rewards,” which is when you don’t always get the same reward for completing an action or task. It is meant to be kind of addictive and encouraging, not frustrating. And I find this is similar in some ways. I’m two steps forward, and one or two steps back, especially with the food stuff. Progress is being made, but it’s loopy, erratic, wobbly progress. And in my head, it’s a spiral that spins outward from bad behaviour to good behaviour, but in a non-linear way… the overall motion is outward, but it’s in all sorts of directions.

There’s also a certain amount of blind faith to this: I have to keep doing it because I’m doing it and trust that it will work. And that means I have to do it, not half-ass it like I’ve been doing with the food logging. If I don’t engage with the terms of the experiment, the experiment is pointless.

So: food logging ho! Time to start day 101.