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Posts Tagged ‘trends’

The pride cometh…

January 21st, 2011 8 comments

before the slight uptick in the generally downward trend of my scale weights.

Remember that post about running?  I have a case of shin splints now, and can’t run.  Remember that post about trends and trend lines, and how little gains don’t matter.  This morning I got smacked in the face with a 1.2 pound gain.

Intellectually, I know it’s a hiccup, a bump, a bit of extra water and fiber.

Emotionally, it’s not that simple.  I spent this mornings hour long commute (5 mile drive, but first two laps to three different schools) mulling over that silly 1.2 pounds that still left me 1.2 pounds below my trend.

Some of the conversation:

Me: Meh, I was due for a bump.

Me: It’s that time of month.

Me: Do dudes have a time of month?

Me: That was the oatmeal at 11:30 last night.

Me: Nah, oatmeal is good for you this was the Baskin-Robbins from two nights ago.

Me: Right, karma sucks.

Me: You’re being silly, you’ve had blips like this before.

Me: You’re right, I need to drink more water.

Me: You’re hitting your water targets, and your hitting your calories, this is just normal, stop being a jerk and worrying about it.

Me: Well I did eat into my exercise calories a bit earlier this week, maybe…

Me: STFU, I’m not talking to you anymore.  Go cry in the corner, wimp!

image My LoseIt! friends are all on the side of the sane side of that conversation, and really they are all right.  Looking back doesn’t do me any favors, make good choices today.  Work out and exercise, drink water.  Not a time to panic or fret and only make the stress of that worse.  So I’m blogging my pain, allowing a bit of catharsis to occur from connecting with my emotions, then I’m gonna indulge in Free Bagel Friday (which is totally within my budget! woot!) and enjoy my Friday.

Enjoy yours too!

Why I weigh-in daily

January 19th, 2011 Comments off

Seems like it’s a popular topic on the LoseIt! forums, so here’s my chance to tell my story.  I started losing in April, on weight-watchers and used the scale at the gym to record my weights because I was too heavy for our old scale in the bathroom and it wasn’t reliable at all. 

The gym scale worked great, and I had great success.  Usually tried for the same day of the week, but the time would vary, morning to mid-afternoon as my schedule changed.  But it was in convenient, and after moving to LoseIt! in June my rate slowed dramatically.  I thought it was the normal plateau so I kept doing what I was doing and making small adjustments here, a bit more running there.  Travelled a lot in the Summer which I justified some of the slowness in just the environment of flying, staying in a hotel, and the stress of being away from home.

image In October I expressed frustration that my weight-loss rate was really slowing down, and I wanted to mix it up a bit.  We bought a new scale at Wal-mart and I started a month long experiment on daily weigh-ins.  This chart shows the raw data of the daily weigh-ins since I started.  Noisy is the word for that data, and imagine how I felt emotionally each morning. Up = Bad mood.  Down = Euphoria. Same = Grumpy.  It’s crazy to look at that data as a snap shot.  Our bodies take in a lot of ‘stuff’ over the day, The Hacker’s Diet uses the figure of 14 pounds of ‘stuff’ goes through our system daily.  So a snap-shot scale weight is almost meaningless without context.

Which is why I don’t really care about those numbers.  Well I do care, but only as they relate to the over all trend.  You’ll notice the fits and starts at the beginning of the dailys, I’ll give you a hint, the first spike was Halloween, the second Thanksgiving weekend, and the third smaller spike, right after the new year.  But the spikes, over time have gotten less volatile, and I think that’s the discipline of looking at my daily weight as it relates to the trend. 

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Here’s the same data with a 10 day moving average trend line overlaid in red.  Not near as manic as the daily weigh-in, and some early warnings become apparent in the data points (I didn’t start using a trend until after Thanksgiving the tall spike in the middle).  Armed with the trend-line early warning system (above trend weigh-in check out routines, and re-evaluate habits) I got through a 15 day vacation at the end of the year without a major plateau and buckling down when the work/school routine started put me right back on track.  So if you’re going to weigh in daily, use a trend of some kind to relate to your data, and don’t ride the emotional roller coaster of daily weigh-ins.

I also noticed that my Monday’s were almost always up, and my Tuesday’s were almost always down.  So I thought to myself, what if I changed to only recording my weight on Tuesdays. image I’ve gone back and made a chart of the Tuesday weigh-ins along with the trend points for those days.  The blue lines show the Tuesday weigh-ins for the same intervals as above.  The red-lines show the trend values from the daily-weigh-in (they’d be different if applied to only the weekly data).  The point I’d like to make here, is that for me I’m not sure I’d have really gotten the feedback that’s been valuable in finding and changing small habits if I’d only looked once a week.  As I noticed back around Thanksgiving, high-sodium and not enough water will spike me in the wrong direction.  On  this chart it just looks like a small little uptick, and I wouldn’t have really thought about the bad habit, and the rest of the graph might be a lot flatter if I didn’t make that connection.

The changing of my lifestyle isn’t a one thing, one time event, it’s lots of little changes, realizing portion size, the importance of water, the effect of junk food on my plan, emotional eating, etc.  Each of those came at a different time, and only when I had the data-points that gave me more direct feedback on the results of those choices.  If your reading this, your body is different, my results are NOT typical, so you need to do the work of checking in regularly to your patterns, finding your triggers and then finding solutions to change the way you react to your environment.  That might mean weighing in daily, or weekly.  That might mean just logging your foods for now, trying to just eat your maintenance amount of calories.  You’re in charge, and you can do anything you set your mind to.

Water Stability

December 21st, 2010 Comments off

image

So time for another blog post, and like normal it’s about my journey and stuff I’m figuring out by looking at the data I’m collecting and seeing if I can notice any trends.  The first chart is my weight tracking for the month of December, nice and steady loss that is right on track to lose 4 pounds in the month of December.  The red line is the trend line that keeps me sane, weights below that line is a good, on track, signal.  The steady drop in the blue line is projected weights, that I’ve added to help project my plan.

The interesting peak in the weigh loss measurements is the December 6th upward spike.  Remember back in November I had another spike and determined that I was dehydrated and drank lots of water to try and normalize it.  I figured the Dec 6th spike was similar and sought out a way to try and normalize my hydration.  I found an iPhone app called Water that will calculate how many ounces of water based on my weight an other environmental options and then keeps track of how many ounces I drink as I log each glass of water.

That seems wacky, obsessive compulsive, I know, but it was and is something I need to track.  Since then, I’ve drank at least 150 ounces of water a day, sometimes a bit more, but I’ve hit the goal each day. So what is the result?  Well one is the spikes have gotten less severe in my daily weight fluctuations, and other one is evident in this next chart.

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What this chart shows is data from my daily weigh-ins.  My fancy-dancy scale uses a low-voltage charge in my bare heels to measure resistance, and coupled with the body weight measurement it calculates body fat percentage, water percentage, and bone mass.  What I find interesting in this chart is how the body fat and water percentages have normalize without being so spikey as to appear random.  My theory is that a steady hydration rate has normalized my “chemistry” to maintain near the same resistance to the scale over time. 

Some subjective comments on my journey to stay hydrated is that the first week or so I always felt thirsty, even as I drastically increased my fluid intake my thirst was always high.  Second my nasal cavities dried out something fierce, I still us a Bi-Pap to help my sleep apnea (something that I hope will go away as I continue to lose weight…) so I increased the vaporization to help moisturize my nasal passages, but during the day they would feel dry also, even while drinking more.

What I drank is worth recording, I drank mostly water, with usually a cup or two of coffee during work days.  My coffee intake actually went down, as I was concentrating on drinking water.  I don’t drink much soda, or even tea.

So that’s my post for this week.  I’d write more, but I’m going to go swimming in the water, and ride the water slides that I can now legally ride, because I’m now under 300 pounds.

Categories: Life Tags: , ,

A fountain of water… springing… down?

December 2nd, 2010 2 comments

Alternate title: I didn’t realize I was thirsty…

Alternative Alternate title: Even when filled with living water, I still need to drink dihydrogen monoxide.

Although I’ve snarked before on the dangers of DHMO, the truth is two hydrogen atoms combined with one oxygen atom is the most important element to those that are living (plant AND animal).  [Sidebar: arsenic? really?After my frustrations of the last week of Novemeber, I immediately enacted my plan of not over eating and drinking MOAR WATER!  The downside to this strategy, without being too detailed to my gentile readers, is that I am now taking lots of breaks during the day.

But that’s the only downside, everything else is upside. Well upside in the downwards direction. Gravity is confusing, when you’re losing weight.  But I digress.  A couple of pictures. help to tell the story of where I’m going with this:

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That double upwards spike had me seriously stressing. Through all that time I was taking a good food log, and getting in exercise, the day before the first spike I had a 4 mile run (then ate pizza. *facepalm*)  In this time I’ve also added weight routines on off run days, which might be the culprit for some of the weight gain. The old adage muscle weighs more than fat, while technically incorrect, muscle is denser than fat and adding more muscle mass is better for my metabolism, but it’s impossible to put on 6 pounds of muscle (or fat) in a week.  The problem was/is water retention.  The cure, oddly, Drink MOAR water.

SpongeBob Narrator voice: THREE DAYS LATER:

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Woo, thank you Sir Newton for inventing that gravity thing. Although gravity has nothing to do with the above chart, the increase in water intake (and, oddly, urine outtake) has reversed that scary trend in just four days.  People, if you’re breathing, drink water!  Especially when the heater starts working, and dries everything out… (Note: for further research weight loss bubbles as a result of colder temperatures?)

The other part of my last post, was the long dissertation on trend lines, and confusing math.  Let my break it down, The daily weigh-in numbers can act as either anchors or buoy to the trend line.  A weigh-in number below the current trend will drag it down, how much depends on how ‘heavy’ the weight (the more below the line, the “heavier” it is) and will pull the imagetrend line down. Similarly, a weigh-in number above the line acts as a buoy and lifts the trend up.  So in this chart, blue dots are the daily weigh-in numbers, and the red dots are the daily trend numbers.  Remember all that stressing about the fluctuating numbers on the scale each morning?  Well the trend numbers help with that. (I started using the trend after the scary spike!) If my numbers fluctuate a little up but stay below the trend, that’s good still on track.  If they spike above the trend line, then I’ll need to re-evaluate and make sure all the checklist (exercise, food log, water intake) items are in order.  A bit of freedom.

So, don’t freak out, I’m not stopping this journey train because of some wacky number.  I’m feeling too good about myself, and enjoying myself too much to get too grumpy. I’m just geeking out on the numbers, because that’s what I do. Also, I recognize looking at last post’s money chart, that I was due for a little plateau.  All signals are in the green, Houston.  Let’s light this candle.

Categories: Life, Losing It Tags: , , , , ,

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.

Read more…

Categories: Life, Losing It Tags: , ,