About Fogdog's Weight Loss


Through failure we learn to succeed! This is a blog about fighting back. It's about picking yourself up off the floor, dusting yourself off, and getting right back in there. It's about holding yourself accountable, having the right mindset, and learning to live a healthy lifestyle.

Join me as I take the journey and try to stay on the path. Learn from me through my successes and failures, and help me learn from you. As one blog I am weak, but as a community we are very strong. Let's Succeed Together!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Weight Loss Data

DATA - Things known or assumed as facts, making the basis of reasoning or calculation

You may not have thought about it this way before, but you use data to make all your decisions.  When your gas gauge is on “E” in your car, you make the assumption that your car is almost out of gas.  You really don't know that your gar is almost out of gas, but the little needle says it's so and so you assume it's correct.  That assumption, based on available data, allows you to make the decision to stop at the gas station and add fuel. 

However, what happens when that gas gauge fails and the needle gets stuck in one spot?  What happens when our data fails us?  If data drives all our decisions then doesn't it stands to reason that bad data can also drive bad decisions?

Weight Loss Data... The Almighty Scale 
When it comes to losing weight we make a lot of decisions based on what the scale tells us.  When you step on the scale, you are not just reading a number  When you step on the scale you are collecting data.  Whether you record that data somewhere or not it really doesn't matter; your brain records the data for you and it compares the data with all the other data it has on your weight.  Though most of this happens without you realizing it, seeing that number adds to your pile of weight loss data, and that data is the basis for a lot of your future decisions.    

Since data drives decision, it's important to understand the quality of the data.  There's a lot of variability in stepping on the scale...

Scale Limitations 
Did you ever have (or do you still have) one of those old spring scales?  If you ever had one of those scales you probably remember that you could lean forward on those scales and actually see the weight drop by half a pound (to this day I lean forward slightly every time I stand on the Wii scale).  There are physical limitations to scales, and some are better than others.  Even the new electronic scales have variability.  Here’s something for you to try… Pick up your scale and carry it around the house.  Weigh yourself in every room and write it all down.  I’ll bet you didn’t get the same reading every time?  Slight changes in how level the scale is can actually have a pretty big impact on your scale’s accuracy.  What’s worse, the variability is not the same for everyone, it is amplified the heavier you are.  I tried this experiment and got a high/low range of 5 pounds.

Variability in Ourselves
Along with variability in the scales we use, there is also variability in ourselves.  The process of taking in energy, converting it to what our body can use, and getting rid of waste means a constant fluctuation of our actual weight; there's no way around it.  Weigh yourself 5 times in one day.  You can easily see 2-4 pounds of variability.  Weigh yourself every day for a week and if you are like me you could see 5-10 pounds of variability.  One of the biggest culprits is water.  You hear the term “water retention” a lot in weight loss circles.  Water retention can be listed as a legitimate problem and it can also be used as an excuse to justify poor performance; it just depends on how you want to use it.

The Great Scale Debate
There are those in the weight loss community who think you should weigh yourself frequently.  Frequent weigh-ins keeps you accountable and you just have to mentally "adjust" for the variability.  Since you weigh frequently you become an "expert" at identifying when the reading is skewed.

Then there are those who think you should weigh yourself infrequently.  It's impossible to separate true weight loss from normal variability so there's no point.  In fact, the "bad" data could cause you to make bad decisions so best to avoid the scale as much as possible.

Which way is right?  Both theories are credible; it really just depends on the person and their point of view.  If you are someone that needs to get on the scale to keep from drifting and you don’t see a lot of variability then daily or weekly weigh-ins is probably right for you.  However, if you are someone that doesn’t see the “point” to weighing frequently because of all the variability and not weighing in regularly doesn't cause you to drift, then maybe semi-monthly or monthly weigh-ins would be better.

Know Where You Stand
Everyone has to make their own decision about how often to weigh in and I’m not going to try to convince anyone that one way is better than the other.  If you scour the blogosphere you will find plenty of opinions on that subject ranging from multiple weigh-ins each day to never weighing in and everywhere else in between.  It's your journey and you need to decide what it looks like.  

In order to make the best decisions about your weight loss, you need to know how good or bad your data is.  If you don’t know the quality of your data then you are subject to making bad decisions and that's what eventually leads to you walking down the road with a gas can in hand.

-Stay Strong!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Week #8 Weigh-in

8/24/14 Starting Weight: 347.8 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 315.9 lbs
Current Weight: 314.6 lbs
Period Weight Loss: 1.3 lbs

Total Weight Loss: 33.2 lbs
In my last post I wrote a little bit about being obsessed with the scale and indicated that I might actually take a break from getting on the scale for a while.  Today's weigh-in gives me my answer but not for the reason that you think.  I've become convinced that there is too much variability in weighing ourselves (my next post).  Just 24 hours ago I got on the scale and weighed +7 pounds.  Yes that is not a typo, +7 pounds.  This morning, just 24 hours later, I have somehow managed to lose 8.3 pounds.  If you can believe that, then let me go write a book on my miracle diet and I can sell it to you.  No, for me, the issue with my scale is around water.  After 8 weeks I've started to see that just the smallest changes in my salt intake can cause major fluctuations in my weight.  I've said it a couple times, I have been drinking a gallon of water every day.  I had to Google it... a gallon of water weighs a little over 8 pounds!  When you are putting almost 60 pounds of fluid through your body each week you are going to see more fluctuations than normal.  Yesterday and today have confirmed it for me, it makes no sense for me to weigh-in every single week.

  1. Stress, Stress, Stress!
  2. Not enough exercise
  3. Feeling a little worn out
  1. I'm learning about my path and making smart changes
  2. Passed on donuts in the office Friday (small victory #23)
  3. Still following my eating plan and doing very well
  4. Water consumption has become automatic
So I've now had 2 consecutive months of weight loss (at least that's what the scale says).  I'm proud of that; it's the longest I've ever gone without having a week of relapse.  Regardless of the weight I haven't had one of those weeks where you do bad all week long and then "hope" the scale helps you out.  I feel good where I'm at right now; I'm making progress every week with still plenty of room to grow.

I mentioned above that I feel a little worn out, but not from the eating.  I need a vacation day or two from my job; I have to survive for one more week and then I can take a day or two off the following week.  An extra long weekend might be just the thing I need plus I can use the time to get some much needed chores done around the house.

As for the weigh-in, here's what I've decided to do...

When I started this journey I made a promise to commit to 3 months of healthy eating and I now have 4 weeks to go to complete that promise.  I've decided to make another small promise to stay off the scale until those 4 weeks are up.  I will continue to do my Saturday post with my highlights and lowlights, but just without a number.  On week #12 I will weigh again and we'll see just how I fared in my first 3 months of a lifelong transformation.  To the blogging community: Thanks for all the support so far!

Stay Strong!