Harnessing Health Measurements

Leveraging Practical Tools for Personal Transformation

There’s a very interesting extrapolation that’s possible for a business system to a health system, allow me to explain.

Most businesses, to whatever degree, use business metrics: KPIs.

  • Quantifiable targets
  • Timeframe for accomplishment
  • Data source
  • Reporting frequency

In this article, we will hone in on Quantifiable targets.

Obviously, these metrics differ across businesses in the specificity of the target, but the fundamental aspect and structure can easily be used for taking a systemized approach to improving your health.

So think of how you would treat your health (or the health of a family member) as if it were a business you’d had to build up, nurture and protect.

METRICS:

Here I’ll explain the metrics and to what degree they are useful, and awareness of their pitfalls

1. Weight:

Seems like the most obvious one, but weight accounts for little in terms of how water weight fluctuates throughout the day or food is still in processing. It’s an unreliable measurement in that way.

2. BMI:

Although to a certain extent better than weight, the ratios are still easily thrown off if you’re naturally more heavy set and would gain muscle, your BMI would still be out of bounds. It is to that degree a better metric than just tracking your weight.

3. Body fat % via DEXAscan

This one is by all means the gold standard of metrics, it tells you how much fat is located in each area, also between the organs (viscerally), how much muscle mass you have, bone mass, etc. It’s very accurate and provides a really clear picture.

4. Testosterone levels

To a certain degree, we could consider T levels as your profits, the higher these are, the better you feel. A high level of testosterone has you feeling like a million bucks.

5. Calories:

I think there’s a certain case to be made where this is valuable information, which is creating the awareness of how much you eat in a day, which some either wildly overestimate or wildly underestimate (I’ve seen both occur in business people). Where the calorie model falls apart is that everyone (hopefully) knows that 2000 kcals of croissants don’t have the same effect on the body as 2000 kcal of whole foods. Calculate your daily need here.

6. Macros:

There’s more value in tracking your intake of Carbs, Protein, and Fats. In this case, You make sure you’re hitting your protein target (1.5-2g per bw kg) and fill in the rest with fats and carbs. Now the less active you are, the fewer carbs you need, so that would be the macronutrient to manipulate.

There are most definitely more useful metrics that can be leveraged from bloodwork, but for the sake of practicality, I won’t be discussing these here.

GOODHART’S LAW

“When a measure becomes the target, it ceases to be a good measure”

Effectively, measurement can become a double edge blade and a trap. It’s important to keep in mind WHY you are measuring these things in the first place. Because a lot of gamification and self-deception can creep in here.

Just manipulating parameters to make the measurements fit is a very short-term approach with a long tail (chain of consequences) of typically detrimental effects. In business, this could be seen as manipulating numbers to amplify outcomes, or just downright manipulation to get your way, which would impact reputation significantly down the line.

Checking in with your why, with the process, and even someone to keep you accountable is a big help in not target fixating on the measurement.

APPROACH

For the sake of longevity, simplicity, and practicality I’d opt for a combination of points 3, 4, and 6. I’d get a DEXA scan (and repeat them every 3 months until satisfied with body composition and health metrics), bloodwork to check out your T levels and lean on a macronutrient ratio that bodes well for you.

As far as the macronutrient ratio goes I would prioritize protein intake with animal protein (meat/fish/eggs/seafood), fill in with fats, and then what level of carbs would match your daily activity levels. So typically this would look something like 40% protein, 30% fats, and 30% carbs. Although, I’d probably lower the carbs to 20%.

The last part is all about consistency. When high-quality foods are being used, processed foods are avoided, sleep is prioritized and stress levels are managed, those health metrics can change fast for the better.


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