Applied Nate Silver – major milestone

At last! I finally broke through my plateau zone of the 190s, 189.6 today! Hurrah – me! I’ve been stuck in the 190s now for 10 weeks which is more than 2x as long as it took me to break through the previous decades. The vacation cost 4 weeks (up, back down) and my loss rate since vacation has been much lower, but that’s partly according to my Phase 2 plan (real bike riding, less duration but more intense exercise, focus on protein intake and strength training rather than just weight loss).

I’m still shooting to hit 180 but that will be a “fake” weight. During the time I’m doing extreme calorie restriction my weight is artificially low (compared to steady-state maintenance calorie intake and exercise levels). So actually achieving 180lbs, while in severe diet mode, means I’ll probably do 190lbs as a target maintenance weight, hopefully counting a bit more muscle mass, not just restoring fluid. But I won’t achieve this goal soon (at least two more months) since I have some other planned disruptions of my strict regimen where I’ll bounce up (temporarily).

So here’s the two “money graph” with enough of the Phase 2 data to slightly show a trend:


The blue markers are pre-vacation data showing a 2.4lbs/week drop over 24 weeks, definitely a good showing. The two red markers are the anomaly from vacation (missing week 25, no way to get data since away from scale). And now finally the green markers show the new Phase 2 beginnings of a trend, with the much lower weekly loss of 1.7lbs/week (still too little results to get a solid value for the trend).

But today’s weigh-in is definitely not quite real. This week has not been a good week for loss. During the week I started my strength training workouts, reduced my duration of “easy” workouts and started emphasis on short and intense workouts, plus spent time on real bike (since I finally have some decent weather). So it was looking touch-and-go whether I’d have any loss, as the seven-day moving graph shows:


In fact, until today’s weigh-in the trendline for the week was actually up, as you can see from several of the higher points. So how did I pull it out today – dehydration. You see this is my girls-away-and-I-will-play week. My wife and her sister took off from their annual visit to Arizona which normally means yours truly gets to live a rowdy bachelor life for a week. But this year, instead of heading to grocery store and buying vast amounts of junk food and booze, I held back, at least mostly. So knowing I’d get a few more liquid calories (aka booze) yesterday I cut back on the solid stuff, definitely awful nutrition.

Plus last week I started my attempt at 5:2 fasting. On “feast” days I’m emphasizing protein intake. Amazingly I discovered I could make smoothies from blueberries (which I normally don’t like and don’t eat), almonds, non-fat yogurt, and agave and couple those with Muscle Milks, plus generally eating more in the 2000 calories range. I had two “fast” days, one actually achieving the 600 calorie target, the other initially below 600 but then a cheat when I made some very high cal cookies for my wife to take on her trip (fortunately they’re out of the house since each one was probably 200 calories). I actually find the fast part not too hard if I only eat a single meal (dinner) and use a portion controlled (Weight Watchers) meal plus just enough other stuff to reach 600. We’ll see if I can keep that up.

But clearly last week wasn’t working right, with all the variability. My BodyMedia calories burned and consumed app shows I should have had nearly 2.5lbs loss, but I was gaining during the week. So yesterday’s mostly liquid diet really just dehydrated me, as any significant amount of alcohol always does. This produces a 1.48lb drop today which is obviously false. But what I think I’ve found is that whenever I eat more volume this allows an increase in retaining fluid. So, for instance, I also had a one-day gain of 1.76lbs which is also bogus. So the “noise” is really making it hard to see the “signal”, just as Nate explains. The daily variability, solely due to water retention, swamps whatever real change there may be in fat burning. I expect this pattern to continue.

And it will be hard this week to maintain my discipline since there is ample temptation to enjoy my week alone with a little extra consumption (I ignored 11May as “Eat What You Want Day” just so I’d have a good weight today). And today will be a big meal as I’m planning a feast for my mother on Mother’s Day and after spending hours cooking up that meal I certainly am going to have some. And the weather is forecast to be warm so I’ll do more real biking (good for muscles, not so good for calorie burn). So I’m going to predict that I will be lucky to just stay even this week, so my prediction for next Sunday is:


Now one more bit of data trivia. I think I hit “bottom” on my rapid shedding of vacation weight about three weeks ago, so my daily weigh-ins since then have been more “steady-state” and not affected my anomalous vacation effect. So here’s what that looks like:


The trendline shows a better prediction for my next few months, a weekly loss about half as much as I achieved during the first 24 weeks. But this is the plan. With a bit more calorie intake (emphasizing protein) and less total calorie burn with emphasis on intensity and strength training I’m now focused on achieving a “healthy weight” I’ll use as my baseline for the rest of my life as I move toward maintenance, an achievement I’ve never succeeded at before. I hope to achieve a 10lbs fat loss, 5lb muscle gain and 5lb fluid bounce to set my steady-state for the future. Check back in a few months to see if I succeed in what will actually be a more difficult, but better, goal.



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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