Go on Daddy!

Lean Sigma engagements mean I am frequently travelling around the country with many nights in a hotel. This typically means full English breakfast, canteen lunch and hotel dinner. Unfortunately after 18-months it has started to show and I have gone from lean-mean change machine to chubby-mean change machine.

Imagine the shock on returning home after a weeks-long travel to find a set of scales, measuring tape and two beaming children. They had decided I was too fat. The elder had made a poster at school: – “Go on Daddy!”. The younger has drawn a picture of me on a treadmill. I was duly weighed and my waist measured and the results put on a chart to check weekly progress.

So I am trying to watch what I eat and do make an effort to use the hotel gym.

But this got me thinking; it was a long journey in the car. The project team had found their project (me) and were measuring two process outputs. What are my key process inputs? What is my process capability? What is my goal? What is my improvement plan? Can I really achieve long-term sustainable results?

What is the size of opportunity here? Picking -up on J P Spencer’s blog, it would seem the principles of Lean Sigma have unlimited potential in the diet industry. A brief search on-line gave no real hits on “Six Sigma Diet”. I think a business using Lean Sigma with a well-structured workbook, wall-chart, reading material and web site would be of great appeal. Maybe the healthcare contingent would like to comment?

Comments 7

  1. Michael Marx

    I did a little searching and found this article in the March 2005 issue of Business to Business Magazine where Lee Campe actually did apply Six Sigma to his diet:

    THE SIX SIGMA WAY OF LIFE, Analyzing your Weight, Measuring your Success & Using Statistics

    The entire publication is worth a read to any Six Sigma practitioner, not just Six Sigma dieters. It highlights Six Sigma at Atlanta based companies.

  2. Andrew M. Hillig

    I think it’s a fabulous idea. I’ve done weight watchers before, and it losely follows a Lean Six Sigma approach. It’s hard to follow the diet without documentation of your daily eating habits. Further, the DMAIC process really could apply to a diet. It gives a road map to follow, and that is what usually leads to success. It’s a structured, monitored approach to healthy eating.

    Great idea, I might give it a shot myself! Could start a new dieting fad!!!

  3. Robin Barnwell

    Thanks for the article Michael, interesting analysis, Lee deciding he should eat more not less.

    Thanks for the endorsement Andrew. If I do take this anywhere I’ll forward you the details.

  4. Meikah

    Lean Six Sigma can actually be useful in dieting?!?! Interesting post! I could use some diet techniques myself. Thanks for the tip.

  5. Lee Campe

    The diet worked, because it wasn’t a diet. I took the good old Y=f(x) discussion we use and applied Six Sigma. Used body fat as my Y, finding out that I wasn’t eating enough was a complete shock to me…because, just like most people I “jumped” to the solution (implement Atkins), or had guessed at the X’s (root cause), for example thinking I was eating too much.

    Losing weight or fat is actually a perfect problem for the DMAIC methodology (and thus disproves the requirement some place on DMAIC that everything be associated to a process). Most people just aren’t disciplined enough to “wait” through the baseline data gathering needed for the measure phase (hey, me too) Needless to say I think I am pretty fit today. Just finished my first duathlon and won my group. Not bad for an “ex out of shape” Master Black Belt.

    Hit me up on my website if you’d like to know what I did. Keep in mind though, my company is quite popular for full six sigma deployments and training, so it might take me a moment to get back to you.

  6. bboden

    Reading these comments leads me to a logical conclusion, I should be using the Six Sigma tools in my personal goals as well. I am racing Ironman Canada in 2007, It will be my second. I have a total time goal (Y) which has 4 main X’s that are actually Y’s unto themselves: Swim time, Bike time, Marathon time and transition time each with there own X’s. I will need to do a fishbone for each of these, build a data collection plan, risk assessment (injuries etc,), test my progress numerous times to verify whether or not I am building enough to meet the target. What am I getting myself into? Can one be both an Ironman and a geek?

  7. Robin Barnwell

    Thanks for the post Lee. I read your article when Michael added the comment. What a great root-cause to have. For myself, in the interim since writing this blog I have moved house. I now have a large garden and have been spending the summer gardening and generally being active to get the house in order. I am now safely inside the BMI index. I found mine was a rather simple root cause, too much rich food and not enough exercise.

    The idea of using six sigma to deliver success in an Ironman event sounds great. It reinforces the blog’s idea that the tools can be applied directly to getting into shape. Please report back if you get an improvement in your performance that you attribute to six sigma. Not sure someone would dare call you a geek!

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