(originally published on Medium)
At the beginning of 2010, I bought a Withings Scale, which turned out to be pretty awesome, because now I have half-a-decade’s worth of weight and body-fat data to examine.
I spent the majority of this summer traveling & re-focusing on my health, and was curious what my weight’s trend-line looked like, so I dug it up. With a tiny bit of annotation, what’s most obvious is this: my work’s impact on me isn’t limited to just my mental health, stress impacts my body in a very real and directly measurable way.
(Lowest, 156 lbs. at time of the marathon, highest 188)
The un-annotated & green areas are periods of unstructured travel & consulting, experimenting with new sports. The red areas are periods of consistent weight-gain, and happen to coincide directly with periods of intense work-focus. (One spike of note: my startup, Boundless, was sued in March of 2012, and you can see the outsized-effect it had on my weight)
Interestingly, I’ve intuitively described the difference in stress between entrepreneuriship and venture investing as follows: “Startups are extreme in their highs, but as extreme in their lows. Venture investing operates over a subtle background of more-constant stress.” Looks like the data supports that articulation.
There is of course debate as to whether sustained stress causes weight gain, or merely changes in stress. Whatever the ‘norm’ may be, my data is clear: work = weight gain. (I am fortunate, however, that my fluctuating weight is within relatively tight bounds)
Seeing my own data is a powerful insight & a clear reminder: if we aren’t actively investing in our success (work, life, friendship, etc), by default we are falling behind.