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  1. #1
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    Beginner at cycling, trying to lose weight

    Hi, I am new here and I am trying to lose weight by riding my bike... I am 15 years old and i weigh 235 pounds, I am 6'0 tall, and i am trying to get down into the 170-180 range. I used to bike all the time but now I've lost all my endurance and can barely ride at all. I would just like to know what would be a good diet, and how far i should bike per day, and maybe how to get my endurance back up so i can ride more than 2 miles without being out of breath, haha. It is kind of hard to bike around here because i live in pennsylvania and there are a TON of really steep hills where I live. When i sued to bike i biked around 12 miles per day or so. So... i just want to know what kind of diet i should be doing, how far i should be biking, and maybe some excercises to help me ride up hills easier or get leg strength or something, and maybe how long it would take me to lose these 65-75 pounds...

  2. #2
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    I am 55 and spent a lifetime
    of low self esteem issues with
    weight and such til I discovered
    Whey Protein Powder.

    If I were 15 again, I would eat
    out of a blender for the rest of
    my life just as I intend to now.
    (2 meals a day anyway.) Please
    check out the 2 links below.

    Whey of Life Website describes
    the many benefits of whey protein
    powder at: http://www.wheyoflife.org
    and how it is an EXTREMELY healthy
    food for you and how it will provide
    you a lean, mean body machine with
    which to enjoy your future life.

    Also, check out:
    http://www.supplementdirect.com/?con...oduct_id=10805
    where you can buy 44# bags of the
    stuff and store it in 35 lb. dog food
    canisters. The link above is the
    cheapest price I have found
    on the Internet, even considering
    delivery charges..

    7 years ago I was 5'6" and weighed
    240 lbs. In 9 short months, I lost
    90 lbs and have kept it off with a
    diet of whey protein powder skim
    milk shakes and a sensible meal
    at night. I am now trim and fit
    and have all the energy I need to
    ride my bike and do whatever else
    has to be done, and NOT get hungry.
    PS: When I was in college, the
    leanest, meanest, toughest athletes
    I knew, all ate out of blenders. And
    I can assure you it is healthy.

    My doctor agrees and is wowed by
    my healthy BP and Cholesterol #s.

    If I had a 15 year old kid, I would
    be pushing this same diet with him
    as a secret to a lifetime of health,
    a trim body and top physical
    conditioning. - Good Luck! -
    Ned Goudy, Glendora, CA USA
    Lightning Thunderbolt, Easy Racer EZ1, Rhoades Car
    http://www.rhoadescar.com/4w1p-j.jpg

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    thanks for the reply, i'll look into those links tomorrow after school...still looking for some more tips though if anyone could help me out

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    Tom (ex)Builder twahl's Avatar
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    If you are otherwise healthy, bottom line is that you need to burn more calories per day than you consume if you want to lose weight. 3500 calories is approximately equal to 1 lb., and the body can generally convert no more than 1000 calories worth of fat into usable energy per day. That's why doctors say 1.5 lbs. per week for healthy weight loss.

    So, decrease calories by making smarter choices. Skip the burgers and fries, eat more veggies. Build your endurance up, there's no magic formula for that. Pace yourself so that you can maximize your current ability, and try to increase by 10% per week. Walk more.

    It's really not hard, but it does take time and commitment. You didn't put the weight on instantly, it's not going to come back off instantly.

    One tip that has helped me is to eat healthy snacks during the day. It'll keep you from eating so much at meals.
    Tom

    "It hurts so good..."

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TedNugentRocks
    Hi, I am new here and I am trying to lose weight by riding my bike... I am 15 years old and i weigh 235 pounds, I am 6'0 tall, and i am trying to get down into the 170-180 range.
    170 sounds like a good goal for someone of your height and age, maybe you could go even a little lower.

    I used to bike all the time but now I've lost all my endurance and can barely ride at all.
    It's good that you are a veteran biker--this will make it easier for you. Do you have the bike, helmet and clothing that you need? Will you be riding on the road, mountain biking, BMX or a combination?

    I would just like to know what would be a good diet,
    Since you're a serious athlete, or about to be one, you need the best possible diet. It's not that you can never eat junk food, but at least 90 % of your food should be of high nutritional quality. As far as I know, The World's Healthiest Foods has the best information on which foods to eat.


    and how far i should bike per day, and maybe how to get my endurance back up so i can ride more than 2 miles without being out of breath, haha. It is kind of hard to bike around here because i live in pennsylvania and there are a TON of really steep hills where I live. When i sued to bike i biked around 12 miles per day or so.
    I would suggest that you ride as far as you can in one day, then rest one day, then ride again as far as you can. The pattern would be ride one day, rest one day, ride one day. Every week, add about 10 % time to your ride. Don't worry about how fast or how far you are riding at this point, because you are just trying to improve your endurance or stamina. When you can ride for 90 minutes without stopping, come back here and start a new thread to ask what you should do next.

    So... i just want to know what kind of diet i should be doing, how far i should be biking, and maybe some excercises to help me ride up hills easier or get leg strength or something, and maybe how long it would take me to lose these 65-75 pounds...
    Eat the healthy foods that you learn about from the web site. You should try to lose one or two pounds a week. No more! If you lose more than two pounds, you're probably losing muscle instead of fat, and your riding will suffer.

    Weigh yourself every week. If you lose less than one pound, eat less the next week. If you lose more than two pounds, eat more the next week. Losing the 75 pounds in one year would be a good goal. That's a long time to wait, so you'll learn about patience and motivation--good things to know when you're 15.

    Weight lifting would be a very good thing to do. Get a trainer or coach to teach you about it. There are probably classes in your school or at the local Y.

    For the first few months, don't worry about how fast you ride, or how many miles you ride. Just worry about how much time you ride. This is the endurance phase of your training, and it's the most important phase of all. Everything else you do in cycling depends on having good endurance. Don't think about anything else until you can ride 90 minutes without stopping. The hills are good exercise of course, and they will be a LOT easier when you lose some weight. The best climbers are always skinny little guys. But don't climb too many hills if it's stopping you from getting your 90 minutes in. The hills will still be there next year!
    Last edited by Roody; 09-11-06 at 09:10 PM.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    In addition to Roody's advise I will share with you my experience.
    Much later in life, I reduced from 240 lb. to 190 lb. size 40 waist to size 34 waist. I am also 6 ft tall.
    OK, here it is. I was not able to loose weight just biking, and I bike a lot. How about over 5000 miles/year. This year 10,000 miles.
    The secret is food intake. I had to seriously watch that to get down to size 34 waist.
    I eat Oatmeal and fruit for breakfast and fish and veggies for lunch and dinner. Cut out all the stuff you like. No Pizza, Cheese, Ice-cream, Pop, Bread, Fried food. Be careful with alcohol (oh, you are 15)
    Performance biking and dieting for weight reduction are not compatible.
    You will find that your energy is suffering while you are on a diet.
    Here is the reward: It is great once you get there. Lots of energy and now you can start serious biking at over 20 MPH and 100 miles/day.

  7. #7
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    I wouldn't worry about milage, but time on the bike instead. I was 240 and got down to 190 in less then 5 months just from riding, I was able to eat almost anythinag I wanted still. I wish I would have watched what I ate when doing it, but I'm back for round two battle.

    Spend at least 1 hour a day on the bike 5-6 days a week. Don't go all out session all those days. Make easy days (recovery, light loads), medium endurance days and hard days full of hill repeats and intervals. Once a week, try to do a ride 2 hours, then after 2-3 weeks, step up your long ride to 3 hours on the bike.

    Cut down on the sodas and fast food. Eat more carbs, rice, pasta ect. carbs = FUEL You'll use 700-1200 calories per hour riding, pending on how hard your working. You have to burn more calories then you are taking in to lose weight.

    Don't forget to have fun while riding. What kind of bike(s) do you have

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    wow lots of replys...i am going to be doing a combination of mountain biking and street biking.. i kind of have a crappy bike. its a 200 dollar mongoose full suspension bike and its not very good, but its all i have at the moment. back where i live and where i'll be biking, there is a ton of trails designated for bikers/runners/people walking, so some days i might take one of those and some days it'll be strictly road riding

  9. #9
    Hazardous biker Ricardo's Avatar
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    Just start riding and enjoy the ride, take a picture or two of the scenery. In short, enjoy the experience and forget the weight, after a few weeks and before you notice, people will start talking about your weight loss.

    Oh, and if you ever need some motivation, check the weight loss thread.

    Ricardo

  10. #10
    Pat
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    Well, as said above to lose a pound of fat, one needs to burn up 3500 calories.

    Diet and exercise works well for me. Some people if they diet, their body responds by lowering its metabolic rate with the result of very little weight loss.

    Another thing that happens in diets is people lose muscle mass and not fat or both together.

    If you diet and exercise, you are more likely to sustain your muscle mass and lose fat. You can even get an impressive difference in your looks without losing much weight at all. Muscle is a lot firmer and better looking than fat.

    Do not expect to burn all that much in the way of calories riding though. Bicycling is one of the best activities for burning calories known but even so it takes a lot of miles. It takes something like 70 miles for someone your size to burn off 3500 calories and that is assuming you don't eat a whole bunch after doing it. It is natural to eat a bunch after a long ride so that even sets things back some.

    Now a rule of thumb on weight loss is that losing any more than a oound a week is not a good thing. The notion is that you want a lifestyle change that keeps you from gaining everything back. You are not really going on a diet as much as changing your lifestyle.

    One thing to do is examine your diet carefully. Cut out as much of the junk and fat as you can. A good way to do that is to get a reference which tells you the calories and grams of fat, protein and carbo in everything you eat. You will learn to avoid certain things as just not being worth the calories. A little indulgance is fine but it is far to easy to kid ourselves about the calories we are consuming.

    Remember our culture is against you. We live in a sedantary society and we also live in the land of the Big Mac (lots of high calorie foods which are yummy and readily available).

    Good luck to you

  11. #11
    Tossed some weight Redrom's Avatar
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    I lost 10 lbs last year from just riding, and I did a hell of a lot of it.

    This year I learned about nutrition through a variety of sources, but if you want one book that puts it all together for you start with "Eat to Live" by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I'm just over 6' started the year at 230 lbs and got to 180 lbs in less than six months.

    There's a lot of good advice written above (though I'd be skeptical of any magical pill or powder that proports to make the weight vanish). I'm not the type to keep track of points or count calories, and I'm not about to go hungry by portion control. I've also done about 1/2 the amount of riding this year that I did last year. If you're still in high school you might ask yourself just how much time you want to be on your bike. Dedication is a great thing, but I wouldn't have given up the time spent in high school, doing stupid teenage high school things, for anything in the world...

  12. #12
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    You may also want to look into Weight Watchers. I have lost 20 lbs so far. WW is very easy to follow and the weekly weigh ins really keep you on track. It is a very healthy lifestyle change and not really a diet. As you get into better shape you will be able to ride harder and longer. Over time each of your biking sessions will burn more calories than the last one. When you are out of shape, just doing 30 minutes can seem near impossible. When in good shape, you can ride for hours and it never feels as awful as those few weeks where you are getting in shape.

    What works for me is to have a training plan and train for a specific event. This weekend I am riding in the MS 150. Just six months ago, I could barely complete 6.5 miles. Now I can ride for over 50 miles at a time AND feel good at the end. Just riding alone did not cause me to lose weight. I had to do WW and ride to actually lose weight. Good luck!
    "Ride lots." -- Eddy Merckx

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    What is important is that when you eat, you should actually like the food. If your eating something because its low-cal, but you dont like it, sooner or later you will go off your diet. Experiment with different foods. If your eating with the family, and they dont make the healthiest meals, learn to cook and get involved so you can have more of a say in whats being eaten.

    A very important note is this, try to consume zero calories through general beverages. If you have been drinking soda and iced tea, and find it hard to go straight to water only, buy some lemons, squeeze them, add to water with some splenda for some lemonade. I did that for several months before I finally transitioned over to water completely. I have skim milk now and again with a peanut butter sandwhich, but not often.

    Also, if you have a job around town, house or wherever, save up a little money and buy yourself a heart rate monitor. Once I got one of those, it really took my exercise to the next level. Once I knew where I should be, I realized that I was often falling short of how intense a workout I could reach. Dont have to have one, but if you get the extra cash, it could come in handy. You could save up for a better bike as well. At 15, you dont always have a ton of options in the cash department.

    you may want to find a friend to do this with, if you have any in your situation. having a buddy to get into eating right and exercising helps a lot of people stay on course.

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    Go and buy yourself a copy of "South Beach Diet". There's a lot of good information in there, and it's more about a long-term food plan than a specific diet to lose weight (though there is an initial phase). If you start getting serious about biking (ie riding more than an hour multiple times a week), then you will need to make some modifications. I use a modified version of this, and if you eat the right foods, you can be satisfied even if you burn more calories than you eat.

    I'm not a big fan of diets that have you eating something other than real food, as it's too easy to go back to your old habits. What you need to do is change those habits. The details are in the book, but the simple story is that the more refined the foods are, the worse they are for you. That means getting rid of white flour, white rice, white sugar.

    I think initially, you should ride 3 days a week. You should do an amount where at the end you feel energized and perhaps a little tired, but not dead. That might be 15 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour. It's really important not to overdo it - you're trying to burn calories and improve your aerobic capacity. You should be able to talk easily at least 95% of the time you're out. Make sure you resist the desire to ride really hard.

    Once you tolerate that, you can add days, or add an alternate activity such as walking on other days.

    Once you are doing an hour several days a week, you can start riding harder. At that point, you will need to explore recovery nutrition.

    Good luck, and let us know if you have other questions.
    Eric

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  15. #15
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    On 1-jan-05, I weighed in at 245-lbs and my doc was half-joking about not seeing me anymore, saying that he was gonna take out life-insurance on me instead and retire when I croak. Being 5'5", that was a lot of heft to be carrying around. Yesterday, I weighed in at 175-lbs. Along the way, I've tried any and all types of "diets" out there, low/high-carb, high/low/no-fat, high-protein/no-protein, etc. I've found that it really didn't matter so much what I ate as much as how much I ate calories wise. The only consistent thing has been that I've eaten less than I burn off. But not all foods are equal, some foods have very low calorie-density and you can eat a lot, but others are very high in calorie-density and I'd just need to have a nibble or two of an small plate and I'd exceed my total calorie allotment for the entire day!

    Now I'm back to a normal balanced diet with lots of veggies, fruits, grains & legumes. Total fat is about 400 calories total a day, protein about 200-400, and I adjust carbs from 1500-6000 calories a day depending upon how much riding I'm doing. Actually I don't watch it that carefully, I still do a lot of drinking, partying, going out to eat, etc. But I make sure I burn it all off the next day. If I've been especially bad, I'll just add an extra hour or two to my ride.

    If you want to lose weight, it really comes down to the volume of riding and calories you burn off. Go slow and steady so that you can burn off the required number of calories. Going too fast and too early will just result in insufficient recovery and you'll end up hitting a plateau and getting discouraged, or even injure yourself. Have fun!
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 09-14-06 at 02:42 PM.

  16. #16
    Tossed some weight Redrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adiankur
    What is important is that when you eat, you should actually like the food. If your eating something because its low-cal, but you dont like it, sooner or later you will go off your diet.
    Adian, I agreed with what you were saying, but thought I'd add - that over time you can develop a taste for unprocessed foods that you didn't have when you began. Prior to this year I hardly ate a fresh fruit except an apple, and hated things like lima beans and kale. My taste buds have totally changed, and I am continually wowed by the new amazing flavors I come across that I never knew I loved. This week it was toasted buckwheat, last week it was yellow kiwi; there's a whole world of flavor out there waiting to be discovered.

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    I won't go into all the details of what kind of riding/training I've done, but I've never found biking gave me significant weigh loss. Very slowly over time yes, but nothing to write home about. However, I found that combined with just a modest amount of running/fast walking (I'm a lousy runner), like 6 or 8 miles a week, I lost much more rapidly than biking alone, and also improved my climbing ability on the bike. And I think it has to be the combination, because purely from a calories burned calculation that's not enough running to have much of a boost by iteself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    Weigh yourself every week. If you lose less than one pound, eat less the next week. If you lose more than two pounds, eat more the next week.
    Ha! I frequently swing by 2 lbs each day and sometimes 5 lbs over a 48 hour period. The once a week advice is useless for me because there's too much "noise in the numbers" to provide any guidance. Obviously it's mostly water and maybe waste product that changes. So I weigh every day but ignore the day to day changes and keep an average and only look at the trend from week to week and month to month. I wish I had some software that keeps moving averages like they do for stock prices -- that'd provide the best data. I'm no health expert, but I think everybody should go by daily average over x days if they really want to know what's going on with themselves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redrom
    Adian, I agreed with what you were saying, but thought I'd add - that over time you can develop a taste for unprocessed foods that you didn't have when you began. Prior to this year I hardly ate a fresh fruit except an apple, and hated things like lima beans and kale. My taste buds have totally changed, and I am continually wowed by the new amazing flavors I come across that I never knew I loved. This week it was toasted buckwheat, last week it was yellow kiwi; there's a whole world of flavor out there waiting to be discovered.
    You can COMBINE and FLAVOR things to make them more palatable and various. There are racks and racks of spices and sauces and dressings at a big food store. Just check ingredients to be sure you go real easy on anything that's adding sugar or bad fats (and for some salt, but that's not usually a problem if you're training and don't have special problems).

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    Quote Originally Posted by TedNugentRocks
    I used to bike all the time but now I've lost all my endurance and can barely ride at all. I would just like to know what would be a good diet, and how far i should bike per day, and maybe how to get my endurance back up so i can ride more than 2 miles without being out of breath, haha.
    I cannot ride 2 miles without getting of breath. However, I can ride over 100 miles and rarely ride less than 30. It's just that it takes me 4-6 to warm up and hit my stride and start cruising. Maybe that's you too? Try taking it real easy for the first few miles, even stop and rest for 30-60 seconds if you feel like it, and maybe you can ride through it and go much further.

    Okay, I promise I'm not posting to this thread again for a while.

  21. #21
    Mad scientist w/a wrench
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    Quote Originally Posted by TedNugentRocks
    Hi, I am new here and I am trying to lose weight by riding my bike... I am 15 years old and i weigh 235 pounds, I am 6'0 tall, and i am trying to get down into the 170-180 range.
    You'll thank yourself for starting now...I was in your exact ht/wt at that age and am only doing something about it at 23. If you can reach your target weight before college, life will be so good to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by TedNugentRocks
    I used to bike all the time but now I've lost all my endurance and can barely ride at all. I would just like to know what would be a good diet, and how far i should bike per day, and maybe how to get my endurance back up so i can ride more than 2 miles without being out of breath, haha. It is kind of hard to bike around here because i live in pennsylvania and there are a TON of really steep hills where I live. When i sued to bike i biked around 12 miles per day or so.
    I'd try doing more than 2 miles. As many have said, the first few miles are a warmup. I do a 5-6 mile commute and by mile 4, I wish there were about 6-10 more miles left in my commute because at that point I'm ready for it. The first mile is still rough, even after 3 months of doing this almost every weekday. The hills will get easier. Just take it steady, walk some hills if you have to and enjoy how fast your weight allows you to go down them.

    Quote Originally Posted by TedNugentRocks
    So... i just want to know what kind of diet i should be doing, how far i should be biking, and maybe some excercises to help me ride up hills easier or get leg strength or something, and maybe how long it would take me to lose these 65-75 pounds...
    One thing that's going to help a ton is if you cut down to 1 12oz. can of Coke/Dew/whatever your soft-drink of choice is per day, or to quit the stuff altogether.

    Unless you eat a ton, how many calories you eat probably isn't as important as what those calories are. moving towards whole foods is a good general direction. whole grains, foods that haven't been processed, foods with as little as possible refined sugar in them, etc.
    Proudly wearing kit that doesn't match my frame color (or itself) since 2006.

  22. #22
    Tossed some weight Redrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zowie
    You can COMBINE and FLAVOR things to make them more palatable and various. There are racks and racks of spices and sauces and dressings at a big food store. Just check ingredients to be sure you go real easy on anything that's adding sugar or bad fats (and for some salt, but that's not usually a problem if you're training and don't have special problems).
    Agreed. Combine and flavor your foods with spices, but be careful of sauces. It's not just the sugar and fat, but even the oils that can be a problem. A hundred calories of fruits and vegetables will fill you up, but a hundred calories of oil will barely coat your stomach lining (even relatively healthy olive oil will do this). I haven't eliminated oil completely, but there are tricks like spraying the pan or eating raw or steamed depending on the dish, which will help you consume oil in smaller quantites. It was hard for me to find a healthy salad dressing I liked, but you can find some really tasty salsas or try mixing humus with balsamic vinegar and lemmon juice. Yum!

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    It's not just the sugar and fat, but even the oils that can be a problem.
    Oils are fats.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zowie
    Ha! I frequently swing by 2 lbs each day and sometimes 5 lbs over a 48 hour period. The once a week advice is useless for me because there's too much "noise in the numbers" to provide any guidance. Obviously it's mostly water and maybe waste product that changes. So I weigh every day but ignore the day to day changes and keep an average and only look at the trend from week to week and month to month. I wish I had some software that keeps moving averages like they do for stock prices -- that'd provide the best data. I'm no health expert, but I think everybody should go by daily average over x days if they really want to know what's going on with themselves.
    To minimize error in weight measurements, weigh yourself on the same scale, in the same clothing (or no clothing), at the same time of day. First thing in the morning, before brekfast or even a drink of water, is probably best for most people.

    It would be realtively easy to keep a running average of your last seven weights. Just add them up each day and divide by seven. However, it will be a long time before you notice any changes because averaging will disguise small increases or decreases.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    Quote Originally Posted by zowie
    Ha! I frequently swing by 2 lbs each day and sometimes 5 lbs over a 48 hour period. The once a week advice is useless for me because there's too much "noise in the numbers" to provide any guidance. Obviously it's mostly water and maybe waste product that changes. So I weigh every day but ignore the day to day changes and keep an average and only look at the trend from week to week and month to month. I wish I had some software that keeps moving averages like they do for stock prices -- that'd provide the best data. I'm no health expert, but I think everybody should go by daily average over x days if they really want to know what's going on with themselves.
    If you're interested in software that analyzes your weight over time, including exponentially smoothed moving averages, and "energy balance" trend analysis (using linear regression), you may find my WeightWare software useful. It does exactly that.

    FWIW, you can download a free, fully functional 30-day trial version to see if it meets your needs.
    CycliStats.com - Software for Cyclists
    WeightWare.com - Weight Management Software

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