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Houston We Have A Problem

November 30th, 2010 7 comments

Alternative title: What’s to keep me from tossing this whole diet thing in the rubbish bin?

Alternative alternative title: Sanity please?!

image So November, what happened between us, we started out so promising (after that mean old Halloween time) then we blew up at the end.  Was I bragging too much?  Did my obsession with trying to get to my goal a bit too obsessive?  Obviously something went wrong, the daily weigh-ins might have been too confusing, frustrating, obsessive.  I don’t want to be too negative on you, November, after all I am now fitting comfortably in size 44 pants (down 4 inches!), and I played Thanksgiving Football without injury, and that Thanksgiving picture looks mighty fine!

But like when astronauts calling in from troubled missions to Houston in mid flight, I need to make some adjustments and course corrections.  I need to keep this bus driving downhill, so with the encouragement of a job well done so far, lets keep our eyes on the prize and set some goals.

The first is: Stop eating too much! Looking at the charts, my calories again have bubbled up over 2500.  I need to keep them right at that mark, even on my hard exercising days when I think it’s an excuse to indulge, I’m cheating myself on the longer term.

The second is: Start drinking. Drinking water I mean, jeesh internet, I’m not a lush!  I need to drink enough each day, and then a little more.  I think I was attacked by a bit of dehydration near the end of the month, be it from too much pepperoni (see my facebook photo album), allergies, or just not drinking enough.  So I need to drink 5-6 of my 20 ounce water bottle a day (so says About.com)

Finally, I need to chill out on the celebration/pity parties after each morning weigh-in.  I need a plan, something to make me realize that while the numbers fluctuate, they are going in the right direction.  Enter some things I found in The Hacker’s Diet from a link in the LoseIt.com forums.

In the chapter “Signal and Noise” the book talks about moving averages and trends.  Which is something I understand fairly well, especially when looking at data (like weight data) that fluctuates regularly.  But the numbers I record in LoseIt.com don’t automatically smooth, there is some smoothing in the longer term charts (3 months and above) but that doesn’t really help in the 4 weeks curve that just shows raw data, nor the weekly view that shows 7 days of data.  The timing of when the week starts can be troublesome too, if it hits on a peak or a valley you can totally get the wrong message.

So, anyways, back to smoothing, and trend lines.  I made myself a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet using the data exported from the 1 year Weight Trend chart at LoseIt.com.  Now the first 3 months are my starting weight, so I removed them, the next 7 months are weekly measures, that have some value in the long term, but what I’m really interested in is the last 30 or so days of daily measurements.  From the Hacker’s Diet I used the formula for a “exponentially smoothed moving average with 10% smoothing” which is basically yesterday’s trend subtracted by today’s weight multiplied by one tenth then adding that result back to yesterday’s trend to get today’s trend. (or the excel formula =(-(Cn-Bn-1)*0.1)+Cn where weights are in column B and trends are in column C.

image When graphed you get a chart like above, the left side of that chart shows my weight and trend measurements for the month of November.  The right side of the chart is my projection or weight loss based on losing 0.30 pounds per day, or a little over 2 pounds for the month of December. Realistically, what I want is to have a strong majority of blue data points below the red data points for the rest of the year.  If I do that, I’ll make my goal of getting below 300 pounds (by the TREND line) before the annual lifting of the sparkling cider plastic glass.  Which would totally rock.

And so as to not end on a downer, I extended that trend-line to the data for my entire journey, and I’ve been here before, and the direction has always been in the correct direction.  Click more for the money chart.

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Categories: Life, Losing It Tags: , ,