Jacob J. Walker's Blog

Scholarly Thoughts, Research, and Journalism for Informal Peer Review

Thoughts about my Month of Medical Focus

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Often in research, there is a need for further research, and many medical treatments do not immediately work for various reasons.  I feel this is the case with my first month.   There were some major successes:

  1. I was diligent about getting a daily blood pressure check from Kaiser, as a medical appointment.  This fulfilled my contract requirements, and has given me a good set of data points that I should be able to soon analyze.
  2. I did an excellent job of logging all the food I ate for the month with MyFitnessPal which I can now download to a spreadsheet using my scraper.
  3. I worked out at least 3 times per week.
  4. I attended several classes to help learn more about my health.
  5. I measured my weight fairly accurately and fairly regularly.

But, my medical progress was not as good as hoped:

  • I was making progress on losing weight, and then backslid, so my weight is only slightly lower than when I started.
  • While I tracked my food intake well (see below about some minor GIGO problems), I also tracked that there were many days that my calorie intake exceeded the limit that I aiming for, and also a few days that really exceeded that limit, and thus was probably responsible for having weight gain after losing weight.

I also have had several GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out) / problems with imprecision & accuracy:

  • I have had problems knowing how large my portions are when entering data into MyFitnessPal, and while I have usually tried to overestimate, I really need to at least for a week, use measuring spoons, and a cooking scale to determine how much I’m using when eating, so that my subsequent estimates are more likely to be correct.
  • My pedometer has had issues sometimes starting in the morning, and I have not always put it on the charger in the car, or done something else that would pause it, so I am not sure how accurate its data is.
  • I do not trust my heart rate monitor’s accuracy. I need to find out how to place it on my body in such a way that it is most likely accurate, and to test it with another heart rate monitor, like one at the gym, to ensure that I’m getting accurate results.

I also still need to complete two more medical diagnosis process that will more precisely measure my fitness and metabolism:

  • A Resting Metabolic Rate check from Kaiser
  • A Hydrostatic Body Composition check from my Gym

If I wish to truly get valuable data, write a paper of worth about this, and actually get results in my personal life, I need to keep moving forward, and I can’t stop.  I must recognize the first month’s successes, but to not stop, and instead to systematically solve the issues that I have discovered, so that I can do an accurate analysis of my health and draw accurate conclusions about correlations and possible causation of different variables with my health.


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This post has not been revised since publication.

Written by Jacob Walker

June 11th, 2013 at 9:32 am

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