How I used Scrum to lose first 10 pounds

Today, I am going to share the story of how I’ve lost the first 10 pounds by applying some of the Scrum principles to weight loss.

Initial Sprint Review 

Before embarking on a big project like weight loss, I like to the initial review:

  • What have I tried already up to this point?
  • What worked?
  • What didn’t?
  • What is causing this problem in the first place?

You don’t need to analyze your entire life. Just look at the past 6 months.

My review revealed:

  1. Eating out and ordering takeouts was my #1 reason for weight gain.
  2. Why did we rely on takeout so much? Why did we go to the restaurant so much? The most obvious answer is convenience. But when I dug deeper, I realized that I hate grocery shopping. I don’t like the process. I don’t like all the temptations. And I don’t like that even if I have a full fridge of produce, I don’t know what to make with this healthy green stuff. The food that I could make out of this ultra-healthy produce was not something that I enjoyed eating.

first 10 pounds

Sprint #1

In the first sprint, I only had one goal – finding the recipes I would enjoy eating. Not the healthy ones. Not the low-carb ones. Not the sugar-free ones. The ones that I would be excited about eating.

If I knew that I like Thai food, then I need to find recipes online that would replicate my Thai favourite takeout and something that would have a short list of ingredients.

The definition of done for the first goal was to collect 21 recipes and save them in Paprika 3 app.

I didn’t have to cook these recipes or change my eating-out habits. I just needed to find 21 recipes that excited me and that I could easily cook at home.

Sprint #2

Now that I had all my recipes saved, organized and scheduled in Paprika 3 app, I could use its feature to create a grocery list in under 5 minutes.

Remember, I said I don’t like grocery shopping? The solution here was to order groceries online, since I had a clear pdf list of items I needed to order. Online grocery shopping was a breeze with the grocery list.

I had two goals for Sprint 2:

  1. Place 4 weekly online grocery orders
  2. Do 15 at-home workouts (20 minutes each)

I knew that if I placed the grocery orders every week, I would have all the ingredients I needed for that week’s recipes. And cooking those recipes would be a much faster, easier and more convenient option. It would be easier and faster than going out to a restaurant. It would be easier and faster than ordering take-out.

And I was right, that sprint I ended up cooking most of our meals at home because it was easier than an alternative. And what made it easier? Having all the ingredients at home. 

Sprint #2 Review

When doing my sprint retrospective, I concluded that ordering groceries online once a week worked extremely well. In contrast, at-home workouts became boring and I didn’t want to continue doing them. I had to try something different for the exercise.

Sprint #3

Sprint goals:

  1. Continue with my weekly grocery orders online
    1. Definition of done: place 4 orders online (1 order/week for 4 weeks)
  2. Walk
    1. Definition of done: 210,000 steps walked in 3 weeks
  3. Intermittent fasting
    1. Definition of done: To fast for a total of 210 hours in 3 weeks (14 hours/workday x 15 workdays)

Sprint #3 Review

  1. Ordering groceries online is still an effective practice
  2. I enjoyed walking and can increase the number of steps in the next sprint
  3. Intermittent fasting was working and I can increase the split to a recommended 16/8.

Sprint #4

Sprint goals:

  1. Continue with my weekly grocery orders online
    1. Definition of done: place 4 orders online (1 order/week for 4 weeks)
  2. Walk
    1. Definition of done: 250,000 steps walked in 3 weeks
  3. Intermittent fasting
    1. Definition of done: To fast for a total of 240 hours in 3 weeks (16 hours/workday x 15 workdays)

The reason why I was finally able to lose the first 10 pounds this time

I think the reason why weight loss worked this time around was that I was doing it under the Monthly Method framework.

Under the monthly method, you set the goals in three different areas of your life:

  1. Career and Growth
  2. Health & Key Relationships
  3. Quality of Life

Weight loss goals were in “Health and Key Relationships” category. But I also had goals in the other 2 categories every single sprint. And that, in my opinion, was the secret sauce.

Back then, I had goals of launching Monthly Method website, podcast, finding first clients. It was exciting and the time flew by. It was something I could focus on and not think about food all the time.

Also, the quality of life goals made life enjoyable outside of mealtimes. I had something to do on the weekends and in the evenings. I had goals of exploring nearby towns. I had goals of trying new hobbies, meeting with friends, making things with my hands.

I had exciting and enjoyable projects going in all areas of my life. This is what made not thinking about food easier. Weight loss was happening on the background while I was busy pursuing other non-diet goals. 

Key takeaways to losing the first 10 pounds

My main advice if you want to lose your first 10 pounds, start cooking most of your meals at home. But don’t go ultra-healthy. See what you usually order at restaurants or for takeout, then find the recipes for these meals. Let your first sprint goals be the prep sprint. Don’t change your eating habits yet. Just set yourself up for success first: find the recipes, organize them, buy all the kitchen utensils and cookware you might be missing. Find the best tools or apps for managing your recipes and grocery lists.

When you start changing your eating habits, have other exciting goals in your life. For me, it was this blog, my podcast, exploring UK.

When you have your mind engage in something interesting, it is not busy thinking about food all the time. And that’s what makes it so much easier.

If you want to try this method for goal setting, start with this free PDF guide.

Read next:
    1. How I used Scrum to change my career and find a new job
    2. Stop having this flawed assumption when setting goals
    3. How to Start Side Project with Full-Time Job – Part 1

If you prefer an audio format, please consider subscribing to the Monthly Method Podcast.


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