Posts Tagged ‘weight loss is not simple’

A Pound Of Flesh

November 16, 2009

I’m trying to lose weight with diet and exercise.

With some allowance for differences in base metabolism/gender*/activity level, to lose a pound of body weight, you have to burn 3500 more calories than you consume.  There are many ‘experts’ who say that losing no more than a pound a week is healthy.  So, across 7 days, that 3500 extra calorie burn is ‘only’ 500 calories a day.  I use the quote around ‘only’ because even that is sometimes a bit difficult to maintain.

I use, along with my exercise/diet buddy, a web-based program called FitDay to keep track of caloric intake and burn.  They do lots of the heavy math work for you, as well as having a large (though not all-inclusive) database of how many calories foods have and how many calories activities burn.

Like the good business guy I am, I use metrics to track my progress.  The most simple metric to use is, of course, my weight.

I weigh myself each…well, okay, most…morning(s).

another broken scale, no doubt

And I’m confused.  I know there are lots of variables to weight – – how much water you’ve had, the bulk of a food versus the calories it has, etc.  But how can I eat pretty much the same calories over a 5 day period and have my weight go down then up again…by 3 pounds?  In just 1 day!!   Makes me shake my head.  But, also, awakens the scientist in this business administration brain.  Just out of curiosity, I’ve sort of been keeping mental track of the variables to those weigh ins.

Most notably is the effect on weight of whether I weigh myself pre- or post- deuce (dump, crap, BM, etc.).  This may be a bit scatalogical*** for you, but those can account for anywhere from a quarter to almost a full pound (!) difference in my weight.****

Of milder note is the effect clothes have…weighing myself naked (easy girls) or with partial or full daily clothing.

Recently I added a variable,  I had just had a bad weigh in (meaning I didn’t see the loss I was expecting…rather, it was one of those unexplained gains), and was very unhappy with the results.  Seething over the lack of weight loss while showering, I decided to check again after the shower to see if I really did gain weight.  I was very surprised to see that, although I still had a weight gain, that I weighed 0.2 pounds** less than the first time I weighed myself just 10 minutes prior.

So, just for giggles, I now occasionally weigh myself pre- and post- shower.   I’m amazed to find that pretty near always I will show a weight loss from weighing myself before and after the shower.  And it’s anywhere from 0.2 to 0.4 pounds less!  Now, I realize this is not remotely scientific.  But, I can only conclude that I do  have about a quarter of a pound worth of sweat and dirt accumulated on me that is washed away in the shower.

More experimentation is called for!

But, if I start posting graphs and charts, please come smack me upside the head and tell me to get a life.

*I knew if I wrote “sex” in there instead of ‘gender’ for male/female, some of you would take that to mean you have to have lots of sex to lose weight…well, it couldn’t hurt!  It’s aerobic!

**my scale weighs to the nearest 0.2 pounds, so there’s obviously a margin of error in here.

*** The study and analysis of feces for physiological and diagnostic purposes.  Also called coprology.

****yeah, sure, go ahead and say it:  “GnuKid is full of shit!”