Gas station without pumps

2016 December 31

Twentieth weight progress report

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 09:52
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This post is yet another weight progress report, continuing the previous one, this being the 20th since I started in January 2015.  This has not been a good year for maintaining my weight:

My weight has trended up by over 5 lbs this year, and it is currently 5 lbs above the top of my self-imposed "ideal" range.

My weight has trended up by over 5 lbs this year, and it is currently 5 lbs above the top of my self-imposed “ideal” range.

My weight only stayed in my desired range for about 6 months at the end of my diet.

My weight only stayed in my desired range for about 6 months at the end of my diet.

Because of the problems with my bicycle seat plus a week-long trip to Boulder to visit my Dad, I don’t have good records of exercise for the past few months—I think it was less than normal, because fall quarter I only went to campus 3 days a week.  I’ll be back to daily commuting for the next few months, though. I’ll have to find some more reliable form of exercise during summer and fall of 2017, as the beginning of summer seems to have been when my weight jumped the most.

My goal for this quarter is to get my weight back down to 158, an 8-pound loss that will take me most of the quarter to achieve, assuming I can stick to the strict diet as I did two years ago.


  1. What do you use to track your weight? It is an automated system of some kind? Did you build it and/or write the code to automate it?

    Comment by Aaron Titus — 2016 December 31 @ 10:11 | Reply

    • I have a bathroom scale of moderate quality (electronic display to 0.1lb, but the underlying quantization seems to be closer to 0.4 lb), and I record the measurement at roughly the same time of day each day (after getting up and peeing, but before breakfast). The plotting is done with a couple of gnuplot scripts: one for the long-term plot and one for the one-year plot. I have to update the scripts to change the ending date every few months.

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2016 December 31 @ 11:26 | Reply

      • I was kind of hoping you would say that you built a scale using an arduino that uploads the data to a server. Maybe this would be a nice electronics project for a student.

        Comment by Aaron Titus — 2016 December 31 @ 11:31 | Reply

        • Quite frankly, automating a scale seems like a lot of wasted effort to me. I need a scale to be accurate and reliable, neither of which is likely from a homebrew project. The effort of recording a measurement every day does not seem to me to justify building an automated system.

          I’m not very into the “Internet of Things”. Putting millions of insecure computers on the internet does not strike me as a good idea.

          Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2016 December 31 @ 11:56 | Reply

  2. Just to complicate matters a bit more but just doing weight often is not a good overall health or fitness indicator. In the summer I gain about 5 pounds consistently. In the summer I am about 180, in the winter I am about 175. I could not figure out what the heck. In the summer I was exercising a lot, watching my diet and actually training. I then had some body fat measurement done winter vs summer. I had significantly less body fat in the summer. The sports med guy at my gym doing the measurements pointed out the obvious, muscle weighs more than fat. In the Marines about a century ago I was 155. I was also 5% body fat. I kept thinking I should be around that again. The sports dude said don’t. He said at my age (64) and considering I like pasta, cheese cake and beer 170 – 180 is where I should be for 5′ 10″. I know I can hit 170 if I gave up the pasta, cheese cake and beer but what fun would that be? I track my fitness by how I compare to the 30+ age group I hike and mountain bike with. If I can keep up I am a happy camper.

    Comment by gflint — 2017 January 2 @ 13:12 | Reply

    • I agree, weight (or BMI) alone is a poor measure of fitness. I’ve only once had a body-fat measurement last spring (using bioelectric impedance, which depends highly on hydration level, so is not very reliable) which put me at 15% fat, which is a reasonably healthy level for my age (62). Decades ago I had one using hydrostatic weighing, but I was not able to fully empty my lungs and sit still on scale, and so that measurement was bogus—I no longer remember what it was.

      I get a fair amount of aerobic exercise from bike commuting, but not much upper-body exercise. My doctor has recommended doing some strength work to increase my lean body mass, but I’m not sure how I’ll motivate myself to do that consistently.

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2017 January 2 @ 16:38 | Reply

      • I really like the book “smart girls do dumbbells” if anxiety/not knowing how keeps you from doing weight training. Or get a trainer to set up a routine. Having a plan always helps me get back into weight training, and then I find I really enjoy it, mostly because I end up feeling so good after a few weeks.

        I like to play little tricks, like logging my exercise and getting some type of treat/pampering every time I hit a certain milestone.

        PS is this inspired by the hacker’s diet? That helped me lose a significant chunk of weight years ago. Then, I went to grad school and put it back on, and now I’m having babies. Looking forward to getting back there once the having babies stage is done.

        Comment by Leah — 2017 January 17 @ 04:43 | Reply

        • I designed my diet myself—raw fruits and vegetables for lunch.

          I don’t have the patience to deal with a “trainer”. I have not done any weight training since high school over 45 years ago, when I hated it (as I have always hated gym classes and forced exercise).

          Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2017 January 17 @ 06:53 | Reply

  3. 1st thought:

    The graph looks more like your weight is roughly constant for months on end (jan to june, july to sept, nov to dec) and increases because the step jumps are only up. In between you maintain your weight pretty well. You don’t lose weight on your new-normal diet, with the possible exception of December when you reacted well to the jump in November.

    2nd thought:

    You are still well below where you had been for several years in a row, so take some credit for that!

    Comment by CCPhysicist — 2017 January 3 @ 20:34 | Reply

    • I’ve noticed the apparent stepwise movement also—I don’t know whether that is a real effect or an artifact of staring at the data too much.

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2017 January 4 @ 19:50 | Reply

      • I’m glad to offer my unbiased eye and say that it is real, but with a weak correlation. And consistent with a diet like my own where I can thoughtfully maintain a constant weight rather easily. But it is easier for me to gain a few from holiday foods or stress eating or a drop in exercise while grading than it is to lose a few.

        I don’t have any relevant tools, but you could probably write a least-squares fit where the function is piecewise constant with one or two interval breaks. Fitting each interval, with end points picked by eye, would be trivial. I don’t recall if the problem is stable if you then allow the break points to vary as the two parameters in a fit. I’d guess that it is, but that including a linear transition between levels would not be stable.

        Plotting the line segments with gnuplot would be easy.

        Comment by CCPhysicist — 2017 January 5 @ 06:42 | Reply

      • Going through old posts on the RSS reader.

        I’ve noticed that my weight is often pretty constant as well. Sometimes I cut weight for tournaments, which is like a 2kg drop. One would expect my weight to go up quickly after that, but it doesn’t. After accounting for water weight, my weight just occasionally takes a step back up to my more usual weight (e.g. when I go on a trip, which always causes weight gain).

        Conversely, when trying to drop weight, it also is often fairly constant for one or even two weeks, and then it drops quickly after that.

        Comment by plam — 2017 February 14 @ 14:18 | Reply

  4. […] post is yet another weight progress report, continuing the previous one, this being the 21st since I started in January 2015.  I did not report at the end of January […]

    Pingback by Twenty-first weight progress report | Gas station without pumps — 2017 March 1 @ 09:01 | Reply

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