Applied Nate Silver – stuck in the ’90s (but moving now)

Last week I was complaining about being stuck in my weight loss trajectory and responded by my most extreme dieting and exercise yet and thus did finally break through, but with some strange results. Let’s just start with the usual “money graph”:


With so much data now and such range on the vertical scale it’s hard to see recent moves so I’ll expand the more recent data:


Now we can see that today’s “official” weight point is slightly above the trendline, but at least moving through the 190s now and showing that last week’s point (well above trendline) was a bit off the plan. The raw scale data, however, shows a slightly different view (scaled to same period as above):


This chart (with data starting in week 7) shows a bit smaller slope (weekly weight loss) and predicts a bit higher value for week 25, but then shows today’s raw scale values bracketing the trendline. Or, IOW, today’s data is actually a bit closer to the trendline when I use more accurate data (I discovered the need for more data in week 7,  but retain the older values for historical purposes).

So having now gotten a fairly accurate view of where I am, why did I say there were some “strange” results. Well, let’s pull out the daily data and I think you’ll see:


While the graph generally shows the high volatility of the data (noise that is obscuring my signal) the two highlighted areas show the “strange” pattern: this week for three days there was a sharp downward movement (almost 5lbs) and then the rebound day (while I predicted, yesterday, a rebound, I didn’t expect this much) and last week for two days there was sharp downward movement and then the rebound. Something strange is happened to allow such a large (and anomalous) downward movement than then somehow corrects itself, but then (last time) seems to lead to the stalled pattern.

Now I’m going to get two more days of daily data before heading off on vacation but I don’t think it will be really representative since I’m already in “vacation mood” and thus not inclined to focus on diet and exercise since the vacation is going to blow up this plan entirely. So let’s look at the plan and then try to predict the revised plan,


I’d already decided to revise my target from 185 to 180. When I first started this plan I picked 185 as a “practical” threshold since that was my weight about 35 years ago when I was still fit. But what I’ve noticed as I’ve lost weight is that I have less upper body muscle mass than I had then (not long after competitive crew training for four years, and much less than I later had after triathlon training). So in order to get waist and visceral fat about as low as I practically can (I think it would be unhealthy to go much lower) and break out of the “over-weight” classification I think the 180 target is more appropriate (I might decide to go for 175 when I get to 180, or perhaps hold at 185 if 180 seems unreasonable, so there may be another revision). But, given my current target I should achieve it in six month weeks or after about seven months on this fitness plan. My total weight loss would then be 75lbs, accomplished while pushing up my cardiovascular fitness (due to all the exercise and the exercise intensity). That’s about as good as I’m good to be able to get and hopefully it means I’ve addressed my health issues and then I can focus on maintenance of this fitness for the rest of my life.

But there will be a bump in the road. Instead of just continuing this plan the vacation (and then a solo camping trip) are going to get in the way. Two bad things will happen: I’ll get much less exercise (many hours of driving is hardly the same calorie burn as hours on exercise equipment) and more calorie consumption (I like to eat and getting some interesting food is part of the point of the vacation and I’m not going to be in a crabby mood on the entire trip because I’m starving all the time).

So I predict that within a couple of days I’ll bounce up by about 5lbs (the usual fluctuation and “water weight”) and then during the vacation I’ll probably gain a “real” 5lbs. So I’ll be really lucky if my next weekly weigh-in (in three weeks) will be < 200lbs. But despite allowing myself to “have fun” on the vacation I will try to restrain myself more than I normally would, so I’m going to predict:


for the next time I’m writing this report. Given all the error in scales there is little point in trying to monitor weight during the vacation. And since I won’t be alone I won’t be able to do blog articles like this (takes more time than the brief private moments I may have) so we’ll just see what happens. After getting back from the vacation I’ll just barely be able to start burning that off before then going on a camping trip which will also push me up, so I’ll make another prediction (more like a target). For my weigh-in on 5May (should be done with trips for a while) I’ll be:


But I’m hoping I can burn that newly acquired weight off fairly fast and perhaps looking at 190 (-ish) by the end of May when I then go on another trip which will probably just regain that. So it’s unlikely I can make my 180 target by the end of June, so I’m going to another prediction (mostly target) and say I’ll hit my weight target by 4August2013. That’s a long time in the future so rather difficult to predict.

And obviously all this data and analysis is going to get a lot more sketchy during that period, with many interruptions in “routine” and being able to collect data. But hopefully I’ll have enough data and graphs to eventually show my success in this plan.

About dmill96

old fat (but now getting trim and fit) guy, who used to create software in Silicon Valley (almost before it was called that), who used to go backpacking and bicycling and cross-country skiing and now geodashes, drives AWD in Wyoming, takes pictures, and writes long blog posts and does xizquvjyk.
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