For the past three months I’ve gone on my fanatical record keeping and weight control and I’ve paid the price. I have collected minimal daily weight (single reading from scale, known to be inaccurate, plus a single (first) weight tends to understate actual average of multiple reading due to some weirdness in scale). But no matter how I look at it the last three months have been a bad trend I now must reverse before it gets worse. So here’s the bad news:
The gap between week 82 and week 86 was the time of my retreat to the Dakotas where I have no data at all. The first data in week 80 was the first week in May and the last data is for first day of August. Piecing this together was a chore since I had multiple flaws in my data collection: a) before my retreat I had no absolute calendar dates in my solid record keeping so it was a lot of deduction to correctly set my scale, and, b) I had no absolute calender dates (just day-of-week) in my sporadic weigh-ins since returned. But I did manage to piece the data together to create continuity between recent infrequent data and earlier (for 81 weeks) solid data. Then I can put this together for the graph above to show the overall consequences.
I was fairly steady, in April and May, before my retreat, right at my target (185lbs). Of course during retreat I had no data at all but I can recall many days with substantial eating, other days with “normal” (not too much, but not diet either). And during retreat, while I did some “real” exercise, my fanatical exercising (nearly 1000 cals/day) definitely dropped off. Since returning my exercise has probably been about 300 cals/day below what I was doing during intense weight control and fitness, which actually adds up to about 3.5lbs/month. And interestingly, that’s most of my weight gain.
IOW, I’ve managed to pack on about 0.9lbs/week in past three months or a total gain of about 12lbs, i.e. about 3lbs/month. It appeared, in late June and early July I was doing OK job of maintenance, but toward end of July a lot of feasting undermined that and so I hit, for several days, my “trigger” weight (195lbs) where I have to get back to discipline and reverse the gains.
Contrary to my intuitive notion I’ve actually do a little better after the retreat than during it as shown below:
But it is a fairly steady trend upwards, although at somewhat lower gain/week, in the last eight weeks. I thought, wrongly, I was doing more or less OK for about 1.5 months, but taking the long view it’s clear I was not at maintenance and my infrequent weigh-ins were deceiving me.
So what do I learn from this:
- I must do daily weigh-ins (at least mostly) and pay attention to these. Contrary to a lot of the stupid weight control advice, more data, more weigh-ins is critical.
- I have to return to my higher level of exercise, getting those 300 cals/day back into my exercise plan.
- And, given I will have some eating days above my target calorie limit I have to compensate with days below, so at least my average is my target (I think my “good” eating days were probably just about my target level, so the “high” days are not compensated for).
The real point though, is I must continue to be moderately fanatical about record keeping so these graphs and analysis drive my disciple. Without all the statistical stuff (including getting back to intense exercise recording and analysis) I just get this drift up that goes largely unnoticed in short time periods but adds up over long intervals. Of course I can also tell this by the tightness of my pants but that takes at least a month to be noticeable. In short it’s the disciple each and every day that matters, not the less frequent data gathering and concern.
So where does this leave me. I gained 12 lbs during this three-month period of inattention, less exercise, and more eating. I need to reverse that. I need to try (possibly won’t succeed) to lose not just the 12 lbs I gained, but actually get a bit lower, so 15 lbs needs to be my target. But my most immediate goal is more like 10lbs. I suspect, if I really get my discipline back, I’ll do better during August than after I’m back down a bit.
So my targets are:
191.0 by Aug 31 (i.e. 5lb loss)
187.0 by Sep 30 (4lb loss)
184.0 by Oct 31 (3lb loss)
These are doable but not easy especially as the next three months is going to have days with over-eating (various dinner parties and eating out, possibly a trip, in late Sep) so my real emphasis needs to be burning calories with exercise. During July I hit a record of “real” biking which also meant treadmill and stationary biking were lower and I need to reverse that. Hopefully I can make most of my progress in next 1.5 months since a possible trip at end of September is going to be some backsliding (definitely less exercise, probably more eating), so to make my October end goal may require aggressive loss during the time after returning from vacation.
But the key point of all this is that I can’t be casual about weight maintenance and have to use most of the same disciple (and record keeping and statistical analysis) I was doing before during my very successful (and huge) weight loss.
One day at a time, with a few “bad” days that have to be compensated for with better-than-average days.
So, Dear Reader, you may get to start seeing all my charts and Nate Silver-ish analysis you probably thought had disappeared. Get ready for boring posts.