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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 01-24-13, 10:14 AM   #1
howsteepisit
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How do you deal with weight fluctuations?

My brain knows that there are days when my weight will inexplicably go up a bit, and I thought I was prepared to deal with that, but between yesterday when I felt so weak I abandoned my planned interval session, and this AM when I was up a pound without any change in my eating. After weighing in, I am feeling low.

The rational facts are that I had not missed a day of riding in 2 weeks, and I do three hard interval sessions a week. I have been tracking my calories by measuring and entering into a program called Calories 3. Weight has been dropping nicely, 4.5 pounds in a week, which I know is too much and probably water balance. so the last two day, I was the same then up a pound. And rationally thats OK and not unexpected.

But I feel bad and slightly depressed about it. So how do you emotionally deal with the ebbs and flows of weight loss and plateaus?
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Old 01-24-13, 10:25 AM   #2
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Well, it depends on your starting weight really - if you're 400# then a 1# fluctuation is pretty trivial, but obviously at 150 it's a different story. Salt intake can affect your water retention and weight.

If you're feeling weak it may be that you are under eating (obviously you are trying to aggressively lose weight) but you may also be over training. I'd suggest at LEAST one rest day a week. I would also suggest cross training, even if it's just taking the dog for a walk.

But emotionally, it is frustrating when you're exercising and dieting and your weight increases. Personally, I think it's less frustrating than when you go up and you only weigh yourself weekly because you can see that it's only a blip. You just have to realize that you are on the right track and your body sometimes does goofy stuff. Power through!
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Old 01-24-13, 10:28 AM   #3
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Oh man what a great question! When your weight fluctuates day to day it's just fluid. You might have eaten the same calories but have increased your salt, sodium, intake. This causes you to retain fluids. You can sometimes not drink enough water, especially in the winter, and this also causes fluid retention. You might notice that after a big ride your weight stays the same or even goes up. For me it's a couple of days until I settle out. I believe this is related to muscle healing/building.

Emotionally, I had a tough time with this. To cope, I started wearing a Heart Rate Monitor HRM. I know that if I'm riding near the top of my aerobic ability I'm doing a good job and making long term progress regardless of what the speedometer or scales tells me.

I'm such a type A I stress over speed and weight constantly. If it's not going my way the world sucks. I truly envy folks who can just ride along enjoying the scenery. We all end up at the same place eventually. It's just not in my wheel house to take it easy.

Hope this helps!
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Old 01-24-13, 10:51 AM   #4
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If the minor fluctuations drive you crazy, stop weighing yourself so often.
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Old 01-24-13, 10:58 AM   #5
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Well, it depends on your starting weight really - if you're 400# then a 1# fluctuation is pretty trivial, but obviously at 150 it's a different story.
When I was that heavy, I could fluctuate six pounds in a day. As long as the trend was downward it didn't worry me.

BTW, I weighed daily, and sometimes multiple times in a day, so I could better understand how my body functioned.
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Old 01-24-13, 10:59 AM   #6
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I spoke to my doctor about this. His take is that it can vary a fair amount -- what matters is not one reading, but rather the average over time.

I have a target weight (winter: 208, summer 202), and can vary a fair amount. In winter, if I go over say 212, I go easier on food and harder on exercise for a day or two.

But I can easily vary as much as 3-4 pounds without it representing a trend (things like salt, water retention, timing of my body processing food, etc.).
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Old 01-24-13, 11:08 AM   #7
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If the minor fluctuations drive you crazy, stop weighing yourself so often.
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Old 01-24-13, 11:15 AM   #8
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I use to drive myself crazy looking at the scale every morning, not anymore it was becoming a mind game. I still weigh in once a week every Monday morning. In between I just go by my pants and belt fit. I'm a true lover of coffee and drink up to 6 cups a day and if I don't double that in water intake my weight really moves up. Yes I pee a lot!
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Old 01-24-13, 11:43 AM   #9
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Weight loss is a journey. Its the whole picture. One WI will not destroy you. Look at it long term. You are going to have ups and down all the time. This is your body telling you to get used to it. Just because you eat less carloies or burn more calories then you eat does not mean you wiull lose weight.
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Old 01-24-13, 02:46 PM   #10
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I keep a moving average. My weight can fluxate a couple of pounds just due to water. I use this website to keep track of my moving average and trends: http://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/online/. Plus, his "Hacker's Diet" online book is interesting and practical.
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Old 01-24-13, 02:56 PM   #11
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All well said and factual. Its the emotional processing that gives me discomfort. In the past, the only way I have been successful in loosing weight has been to be obsessive about loosing weight. Thus I weigh in daily to be constantly vigilant about my weight and eating. This was more a topic for discussion and long term success. Its the coming to terms with the starts and stops and hiccups of the process that makes it both difficult and places me at risk of giving up. Its kind of like I know its gonna happen, but I don't have to like it. Today, I am seeking self-acceptance.
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Old 01-24-13, 03:22 PM   #12
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I weigh 210-ish and my weight can fluctuate 7 or 8 pounnds between morning and evening. I don't put much stock in it unless my trousers won't fit.
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Old 01-24-13, 03:46 PM   #13
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All well said and factual. Its the emotional processing that gives me discomfort. In the past, the only way I have been successful in loosing weight has been to be obsessive about loosing weight. Thus I weigh in daily to be constantly vigilant about my weight and eating. This was more a topic for discussion and long term success. Its the coming to terms with the starts and stops and hiccups of the process that makes it both difficult and places me at risk of giving up. Its kind of like I know its gonna happen, but I don't have to like it. Today, I am seeking self-acceptance.
Well, then consider the upside to this. At some point you will have to maintain the weight you lost. You no longer will get nice little rewards looking at the scale. Seeing the scale hold steady is not near as rewarding. And, there will be day to day fluctuations. Now is the time to get used to that. So, seeking self-acceptance is a good plan. If you are feeling frustrated, do something else, unrelated to food or weight loss, that you find rewarding.

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Old 01-24-13, 03:52 PM   #14
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My brain knows that there are days when my weight will inexplicably go up a bit, and I thought I was prepared to deal with that, but between yesterday when I felt so weak I abandoned my planned interval session, and this AM when I was up a pound without any change in my eating. After weighing in, I am feeling low.

The rational facts are that I had not missed a day of riding in 2 weeks, and I do three hard interval sessions a week. I have been tracking my calories by measuring and entering into a program called Calories 3. Weight has been dropping nicely, 4.5 pounds in a week, which I know is too much and probably water balance. so the last two day, I was the same then up a pound. And rationally thats OK and not unexpected.

But I feel bad and slightly depressed about it. So how do you emotionally deal with the ebbs and flows of weight loss and plateaus?
Honestly, I ignore it. My weight can fluctuate by anything up to 7-8 pounds within a couple of days, presumably based on my hydration levels and whether I need to take a monstrous great dump.

A single pound is trivial. A pint of water weighs more than a pound, so how full your bladder is could make a difference of a pound or more in weight.

If you're cycling a lot as well you may also be laying down extra muscle. Muscle is heavy, heavier than fat. So you could be getting smaller while gaining weight. If the scale says you haven't lost weight but the clothes that used to be tight are now loose, you're doing something good.
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Old 01-24-13, 08:29 PM   #15
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Yes, I see huge fluctuations 3-8 pounds over a day or two.
My electronic body fat scale also varies depending on where my feet are positioned, if I stomped onto it or tip-toed onto it. At least I can use the multiple data points to try to figure out what's going on.
Skip the green vegetables and oatmeal for a few days and pounds come down and your abdomen will seem smaller, but those bulky foods are good for you and long-term will be a friendly part of a weight-reduction diet.
Day-to-day fluctuations do make it harder to figure out what matters and what doesn't. It is discouraging to eat a healthy diet then see the scale go up and the pants get snug (even if it's just temporary).
The pants fit isn't the whole story whether weight gain is muscle or fat, it's just another data point. I gained cycling lower body muscle mass but lost swimming upper body muscle at the same time.
Not all of us carry their extra pounds just around the midsection. Mine are spread out across my whole body.
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Old 01-25-13, 03:13 AM   #16
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I used to fluctuate 6-7 lbs when I weighed 300+. It would drive me crazy! The best thing I found to help me deal with it and stay motivated was to chart it. Weigh in only once a day and chart it. I used an app on my phone and logged my weight every day. Looking at a graph with a downward trend helped to ease my suffering!
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Old 01-25-13, 03:30 AM   #17
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Ignore them. In the morning I weigh 86kg. In the evening after dinner I weigh 88kg, after a hard ride I weigh 85kg. As long as the average falls where you want it to who cares? Try this for an expirment. Go and ride hard weigh yourself. Drink a bunch of water, weigh yourself again. Wait till it comes out again and then weigh yourself. Its mostly water.
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Old 01-25-13, 07:12 AM   #18
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My brain knows that there are days when my weight will inexplicably go up a bit, and I thought I was prepared to deal with that, but between yesterday when I felt so weak I abandoned my planned interval session, and this AM when I was up a pound without any change in my eating. After weighing in, I am feeling low.

The rational facts are that I had not missed a day of riding in 2 weeks, and I do three hard interval sessions a week. I have been tracking my calories by measuring and entering into a program called Calories 3. Weight has been dropping nicely, 4.5 pounds in a week, which I know is too much and probably water balance. so the last two day, I was the same then up a pound. And rationally thats OK and not unexpected.

But I feel bad and slightly depressed about it. So how do you emotionally deal with the ebbs and flows of weight loss and plateaus?
Without reading the other responses, my comment is to stop weighing daily. People that weigh daily go crazy and turn into wife/husband beaters and mass murderers. Weighing daily will drive a person to become an alcoholic. Do you know why the first George Bush did not win re-election? Daily weighing. Daily Weighing was a requirement to be part of the Manson Family. If you want to be insane, get on the scale every day.

All seriousness aside, I would go to weekly weigh-ins, and try to keep them at the same time. Mine are Saturdays at 6am. Also, concentrate on looking at the overall picture rather than the day-by-day. Especially monster active people (you mentioned "intervals") have varying daily weights just because of water retention and use. So, to answer your question "How do you emotionally deal" with it? Weigh weekly.
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Old 01-25-13, 07:38 AM   #19
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Without reading the other responses, my comment is to stop weighing daily. People that weigh daily go crazy and turn into wife/husband beaters and mass murderers. Weighing daily will drive a person to become an alcoholic. Do you know why the first George Bush did not win re-election? Daily weighing. Daily Weighing was a requirement to be part of the Manson Family. If you want to be insane, get on the scale every day.

All seriousness aside, I would go to weekly weigh-ins, and try to keep them at the same time. Mine are Saturdays at 6am. Also, concentrate on looking at the overall picture rather than the day-by-day. Especially monster active people (you mentioned "intervals") have varying daily weights just because of water retention and use. So, to answer your question "How do you emotionally deal" with it? Weigh weekly.
I have my WI at the meetings at night time. Have been considering doing a WI in the early morning though.
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Old 01-25-13, 01:47 PM   #20
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I keep a moving average. My weight can fluxate a couple of pounds just due to water. I use this website to keep track of my moving average and trends: http://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/online/. Plus, his "Hacker's Diet" online book is interesting and practical.
+1. As John Walker observes in The Hacker's Diet, one common response to the emotional toll of daily fluctuations is to weigh yourself only once a week. But how depressing is it when the weekly weigh-in is higher than the previous week?

By weighing yourself every day at the same time, and plotting the exponentially weighted average, you can get a much better idea of where your weight is trending. If your daily weigh-in is usually under the curve, then you're almost certainly losing weight. If it's usually over the curve, you're almost certainly gaining weight. If it fluctuates back and forth, you're stable.

Another tool for doing this kind of tracking is Beeminder, which uses negative reinforcement: you can use it free when you start, but if you fall off the wagon, you need to commit some money to continue to use it. Each time you fall off, the amount of money you commit to restart is greater. I just discovered it, so if you want to see how it works in practice, you can visit my weight loss graph. I started on Jan. 9. I've had a few days when my weight has gone up, including today - 1.6 lbs. higher than yesterday. But it's still below the exponentially weighted average (or "skinny purple line"), so I'm fairly confident that it's fluctuation caused by water retention or eating a lot of roughage in my dinner yesterday, which happened to be vegan.

I find that the emotional toll of seeing a higher number is much less when I can visualize it against a falling average. The exponentially weighted provides an objective counter to the subjective sense that the bigger number means that I've gained weight. It also lets you put those big losses into perspective: you know that the 4.5 lbs. that you lost in a week were not all fat; the average shows you how much of that loss is (likely to be) really lost fat, and how much of it is differences in water, fiber, etc. from day to day.

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Old 01-25-13, 02:00 PM   #21
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I weigh myself everyday in the morning on a (relatively) inexpensive digital scale (Costco sells them) in the buff ~ 6am after draining the lizard. Weight is usually within .1-.2 pounds. If I eat less the previous day OR get dehydrated...weight can drop up to 3 pounds and weighing is the best way to know if I am getting dehydrated. Warning...once you start doing this it becomes an every morning ritual/obsession and it's a great way to maintain weight because you'll start thinking about it when you eat in the evening.....thus you will likely eat slightly less in portion size because you know you are going to step on that scale tomorrow morning.
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