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Thread: Eureka!!!

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    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Eureka!!!

    I've had a major breakthrough in my weight loss today. I've posted several threads over the course of this year lamenting my lack of progress this year compared to the previous two, when I averaged a loss of 3 pounds a week for long periods of time. I slipped and gained 40 pounds over winter, and when I began cycling again and watched my diet more closely as the spring and summer months wound up, I've not noticed a significant change in my weight.

    Well this morning I hit a yearly low of 386 pounds and was pleased with myself after having started at 400 again, but became slightly disappointed shortly after when I realised the year is nearly 2/3rds over already. So, I decided to do some numerical analysis of my recorded weights, and ended up with this graph:

    Exhibit A.png

    I only started weighing myself in April again, after having ceased in December. At first the numbers seem mostly random, they seem to be mostly due to water weight fluctuations. I take my weight at the same time every morning before eating so that I have as close to a scientifically-controlled process as possible. So I decided to apply a 14-day moving average to the weights to smooth it out. Suddenly I noticed that there's a mountain-shaped form in the graph. My weight was slowly rising, and then it turned around and started lowering again.

    So what the heck happened at the beginning of June? I wasn't entirely sure, but I had a suspicion of what it was. When I had my first epiphany and decided to lose weight I started buying fresh vegetables and fruit, but I could never get them to stay fresh for an entire week. So I adopted a 2-day-a-week shopping plan, on Mondays and Fridays. Sometime this year I decided to try out switching back down to 1-day-a-week shopping, but I couldn't remember exactly when that was. So I whipped out my credit card statements and saw... lo and behold...

    June 1st. On Friday, June 1st, I transitioned to 1-day-a-week shopping. My jaw dropped. Here it is, incontrovertible evidence that I was actually eating too much. I signed up for tons of calorie-counting sites and every single one told me that I wasn't eating enough, that I should be eating 5,500-6,000 calories a day. On the surface I thought that was utterly mad, but I had a raging internal debate with myself, wondering if I was actually starving myself to death. I kept saying "Go ahead, try out 3,000 maybe even 4,000 calories. You're probably not eating enough and your body refuses to burn fat because it's starving!". I certainly felt starving, but I am so glad that I decided to go the other way and cut more calories.

    So then I took the graph from June 1st and extrapolate linearly:

    Exhibit B.png

    It appears I'm averaging a loss of 0.1418 pounds a day since June, or 1 pound a week, 4 pounds a month, and 50 pounds a year. Not the best results in the world, but not too shabby either. So what this means now is that I'm going to begin looking for other things to cut out of my diet, now that I've proven that I was eating too much. It's going to be hard, but I can taste the victory in my mouth this time, and that's a far sweeter taste than any food can deliver.

    I suppose the scariest part of this discovery is the fact that I was steadily gaining weight from April to June. I was exercising a lot during that period and thought my weight was under control but the same linear extrapolation shows a gain of 0.1573 pounds a day, even more than I'm losing now. When factoring in that January through April I was eating a lot more and cut down on the exercising to 4 hours a week, it's finally very easy to understand how I gained 40 pounds in that timeframe. Kind of an incredible discovery, which shows that exercising a lot is nowhere near to being sufficient for proper weight loss. Diet is definitely a far greater overall influence.

  2. #2
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    I think you're on it - a pound a week is what most people will say is a worthy target. obviously it's sustainable for you based on your recent results. Congrats! You'll need to tweak things downward as you lose weight of course, but it sounds like you're back on track.

    Now I'm stuck.

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    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    "5,500-6,000 calories a day" - Yikes I weigh 280lb and the calorie tracking sites recommend around 2200 cals a day for me to lose slowly. Thats a lot of calories a day! When I was 320lb I believe I was instructed to eat 2500 a day.

    What sites told you 5500-6000 a day?

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    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    You'll need to tweak things downward as you lose weight of course
    I think this may have been my downfall. In the April-June timeframe I reverted my diet back to what I'd been eating for the past two years. That diet worked great coming down from 470 to 360, but it kind of bottomed out at 360 and I was stuck there for a very long time. I was utterly baffled why it stopped working, but it makes sense. I've lost weight, now I need to eat even less.

    Trying to maintain 200 pounds when I get there is going to SUCK!!!

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    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by magohn View Post
    "5,500-6,000 calories a day" - Yikes I weigh 280lb and the calorie tracking sites recommend around 2200 cals a day for me to lose slowly. Thats a lot of calories a day! When I was 320lb I believe I was instructed to eat 2500 a day.

    What sites told you 5500-6000 a day?
    FatSecret.com, MyPlate/DailyPlate, MyFitnessPal, a bunch of others. I was biking 12-15 hours a week and that's usually "very active" in their calculations. I even tried setting the activity section to "sedentary" a bunch of times and ended up with 4,000 calories a day, still utterly ridiculous.

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    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    FatSecret.com, MyPlate/DailyPlate, MyFitnessPal, a bunch of others. I was biking 12-15 hours a week and that's usually "very active" in their calculations. I even tried setting the activity section to "sedentary" a bunch of times and ended up with 4,000 calories a day, still utterly ridiculous.
    Wow - they are way off I would think. Probably the cycling confused the issue. I used FatSecret and if I entered 30 mins of moderate cycling it would give me calorie credit of something silly like "400 cal burned" - I dont think so

    I finished up not counting any cycling time and used the least activity setting. Hence my 2200 a day. I still didnt lose at their predicted schedule at that.

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    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by magohn View Post
    Wow - they are way off I would think. Probably the cycling confused the issue. I used FatSecret and if I entered 30 mins of moderate cycling it would give me calorie credit of something silly like "400 cal burned" - I dont think so

    I finished up not counting any cycling time and used the least activity setting. Hence my 2200 a day. I still didnt lose at their predicted schedule at that.
    Yeah at this point I consider all internet numbers to be completely bogus. I'm really really considering getting a power meter for my bike, as those are supposed to have the most accurate calorie estimations out there. On one hand it's going to suck not seeing those 3,000+ calorie rides, but on the other... well I won't be lying to myself anymore. Real numbers is real numbers, and anything that helps lose weight is worth it in my book.

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    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    Yeah at this point I consider all internet numbers to be completely bogus. I'm really really considering getting a power meter for my bike, as those are supposed to have the most accurate calorie estimations out there. On one hand it's going to suck not seeing those 3,000+ calorie rides, but on the other... well I won't be lying to myself anymore. Real numbers is real numbers, and anything that helps lose weight is worth it in my book.

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    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    I found that keeping a moving average is very, very helpful. Trends are important! I use this online program to watch trends: https://www.fourmilab.ch/cgi-bin/HackDiet/

    I caught myself going up by .17 pounds a week over the last quarter and had to cut back just a hair on how much I eat. It sounds like a small amount of weight but over time it will make me fat again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    I think this may have been my downfall. In the April-June timeframe I reverted my diet back to what I'd been eating for the past two years. That diet worked great coming down from 470 to 360, but it kind of bottomed out at 360 and I was stuck there for a very long time. I was utterly baffled why it stopped working, but it makes sense. I've lost weight, now I need to eat even less.

    Trying to maintain 200 pounds when I get there is going to SUCK!!!

    Nope, beg to differ. Something click on your head, that new perspective will help a lot along the way.

    Your approach is gradual, which is the one more likely to stay. By the time you reach goals further down the scale, you'll be more active, your metabolism will be a bit faster and you'll be able to perform a lot of things on less food, your energy level will get you involved in other activities so a lot of that "idle time" the brain was using thinking about only eating and sleeping would be taken over.
    Gradual is the key, once you stop looking at it as "diets" and start embracing those changes as lifestyle choices, you won't be "maintaining" anything, or changing back to "the previous diet", and so forth.

    One thing that comes to mind is the weight gain over the winter, perhaps that would be something to look at. Most everyone packs on pounds over the holidays (guilty as charged, something about low temperature makes me eat more, and being a chicken to cold temperature i get out less), however there might be ways to mitigate the weight swing somewhat so instead of the XX pounds of last winter, it's Xx pounds the coming winter.

    You'll be faster on the bike earlier in the season ;-) ;-)

    You're well on your way, not only for the weight shaved already but for the new perspective that "clicked" on your head.

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    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    I found that keeping a moving average is very, very helpful. Trends are important! I use this online program to watch trends: https://www.fourmilab.ch/cgi-bin/HackDiet/

    I caught myself going up by .17 pounds a week over the last quarter and had to cut back just a hair on how much I eat. It sounds like a small amount of weight but over time it will make me fat again.
    I'll have to look into that. You're right about it seeming like a small gain, but taken over a year my 0.1573 gain per day seen in April-June taken over a whole year would see me gaining 60 pounds again. Unacceptable!

  12. #12
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acquaspin View Post
    Nope, beg to differ. Something click on your head, that new perspective will help a lot along the way.

    Your approach is gradual, which is the one more likely to stay. By the time you reach goals further down the scale, you'll be more active, your metabolism will be a bit faster and you'll be able to perform a lot of things on less food, your energy level will get you involved in other activities so a lot of that "idle time" the brain was using thinking about only eating and sleeping would be taken over.
    Thank you for the encouragement!

    Gradual is the key, once you stop looking at it as "diets" and start embracing those changes as lifestyle choices, you won't be "maintaining" anything, or changing back to "the previous diet", and so forth.
    Yes I should have been more clear I am not using the term "diet" as in the popular sense ie "a temporary change to eating that I'll revert later", I was using it in the scientific sense ie "this is what I eat now". I'm not a fan of "dieting" in the popular sense. Tried it in the past, always drives me crazy and never works.

    One thing that comes to mind is the weight gain over the winter, perhaps that would be something to look at. Most everyone packs on pounds over the holidays (guilty as charged, something about low temperature makes me eat more, and being a chicken to cold temperature i get out less), however there might be ways to mitigate the weight swing somewhat so instead of the XX pounds of last winter, it's Xx pounds the coming winter.
    This past winter was like a lot of things happening all at once, kind of overwhelmed me. My family was having some issues which weighed heavily on my mind, depressing me. My office shut down and I transitioned to a work-from-home position, further depressing me by cutting nearly all daily social contact from my life. My exercise plan was to ski a lot, but of course it failed to snow all winter long so I got 2 snowshoeing excursions and one skiing excursion in. I mentally refused to hop on the indoor spin bike because "I fell in love with cycling outdoors, I'll never need to be bored indoors again" over the previous year, so I literally refused to spin and just sat around most days being obstinate about the weather being too cold to bike, but too dry to ski/snowshoe. The frustrations of my job, family, weather all built up and I turned to comfort eating again, only this time justifying it by saying "I bike a ****load of miles, I can afford to eat more!". My daily routine of waking up, weighing myself, then showering, eating breakfast, and going to work was interrupted, and since I didn't have to go to work anymore I stopped showering every day, which led to me not bothering to weigh myself anymore, thus not even realising I was gaining so much weight.

    Yikes, a perfect storm I guess. This winter I will be adamant however. I've begun spinning again; up to 12 sessions in the last 2 weeks now (hit by a car a few weeks ago, bike is being fixed) and will continue to do so whenever I am unable to cycle/ski/snowshoe. Diet will remain steady and I will refuse to slip or justify extras with "Oh I've earned it" mentality. Eyes are firmly on the prize this time. I've learned just how easy it is to slip and not realise it. A very good, but humbling lesson.

    You'll be faster on the bike earlier in the season ;-) ;-)
    Yes this is the thing I look forward to the most. Well that and being able to fit into restaurant booths, movie theatre chairs, and airplanes!!! There's a joke I sometimes tell, it goes "I used to cycle so I can lose weight faster, now I lose weight so I can cycle faster!".

    You're well on your way, not only for the weight shaved already but for the new perspective that "clicked" on your head.
    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    Trying to maintain 200 pounds when I get there is going to SUCK!!!
    Been there an done that. 335 to 190 over a year eating about 1800 calories a day. Kept it off well for a few years then the slow slide back up.

    When I hit my target weight, I would eat about 2200 calories a day and stay active and it worked well. New job, wife problems and all goes by the wayside!

    I did a 8 year climb back to about 303 at my max but hovered around 285-295 for most of the time for the last 6 years.

    Weighed myself this morning and I'm at 258

    But back to your point.... As you lose weight, your body gets more efficient. Can't recall where I read it but the reality is that even smaller, your bodies metabolism will most likely be slower than someone of your same size who was never larger. That's why weight gain for people that lose a bunch is so hard to maintain. It's a life long battle

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