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january: successes and failures

As advertised, the first update on my 2008 resolutions. Because I know you care, and care deeply. And don’t think I’m unaware of my position as role model for today’s youth.

First, on my weight. At the beginning of January, I weighed 183 lbs. This was 11 lbs more than the beginning of December, and more than I’ve weighed since 1999 (my weight for the past few years has fluctuated between 160 and 175 lbs). The time had come to do something, though I’m a much bigger fan of slow-and-steady than rapid-and-unsustainable. So for January, I simply went back to my pre-December routine of eating reasonably and going to the gym three or four times a week.

The result?


Fuck, yeah.

Six pounds lost with almost no effort. And I’m fairly sure I can get back to 172lbs by the end of February. At that point, the experiments will begin, as I try to get to my ca 2001 weight of 150 lbs and stay there. The most interesting idea I’ve found so far is this one, from economist Richard McKenzie: enter into a contract to pay someone a large sum of money if you don’t meet your weight goal (which should be reasonably attainable). This makes the effective price of something like butter chicken or a cookie far higher than a salad or piece of fruit, and it also means you’re getting paid to go to the gym. While I’m generally not a person to worry too much about money, even when I don’t have it, I’m currently highly motivated to try to save money — I’m working full time right now for express purpose of socking it away for my post-PhD travel fund. I haven’t quite decided yet if I’ll go through with McKenzie’s idea, but it definitely appeals to my fascination with the dismal science.

Of course, you could use this trick to motivate yourself into doing anything. I could probably use some assistance in my other goal for 2008 — to improve my guitar skills. I’m going to have to write January off in that regard, but I still plan to focus on getting past my current plateau. On the plus side, I’ve almost made it through all of Guitar Hero II on Hard. Damn you, Free Bird. Damn you, and damn your finger-cramping 10-minute solo.

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