Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Advice I'll be ignoring

Only weigh yourself once a week.

I weigh myself every day, always in the morning just after waking. I sometimes weigh myself during the day, often at night before bed, and occasionally before and after having a crap or a pee. I’ll weigh myself before and after meals just to see the difference, and sometimes I’ll weigh myself with my clothes on then take them off to see how much they weigh! (6 lb today).

This may seem excessive, and somewhat obsessive, but hey, I’m interested. It amazes me to see that my weight can vary by up to 5 lb during the day. It adds a sense of perspective.

Anyway, why are you only supposed to weigh in once a week? My weight will fluctuate from day to day, they say, and I’ll get all depressed if it goes up some days. Of course it will go up some days; a glass of water weighs over half a pound! I am not an idiot, I understand this. The important thing is that the trend over several days should be downwards, and any good statistician will tell you that the more samples in your data, the better.

Now, if I was going to break down in tears and give up the first time my weight increased over a 24 hour period then I could see the point in only weighing in weekly. But then again, I’d probably give up after week 1 because I wasn’t really motivated anyway.

I need feedback. I can handle setbacks, but if my weight rises three days on the trot, then I know that something is amiss. If there is a problem, I can ask questions like…

  • Did I have a night out drinking?
  • Did I cave in and empty the fridge in the middle of the night?
  • Have I had a cold or been unwell?

If there is a reason, note it and move on. If there is no reason, find one, because this is not magic, I’m doing something wrong or there is something I don’t understand.

You should only aim to loose 1 lb per week.

Oh, there’s a generalisation if ever I read one. At that rate I will be 14.5 stone by this time next year, if I stick to it. Supposedly any more than that and you loose muscle mass. I intend doing a lot of exercise over the coming months: cycling, swimming, walking (and running once my weight’s down a bit), so what happens then? I never hear any mention about the level of activity in connection with this magic number. If I’m loosing and gaining, fine, I’m using energy anyway. I believe that my body will adapt. If I were to sit on my backside and simply starve myself then I could accept that my body will ditch muscle, but if I’m using it, I’m not so sure.

Even if I do loose some muscle mass initially, I plan on being far more active once my weight is at a level where exercise it fun again. I defy any 12 stone cyclist to put 6 stone of extra weight on their bike and still find a four hour ride fun. Just now, I can go out on the bike for about an hour and enjoy myself, but after that my backside hurts (a lot), my arms hurt, my legs hurt, and I’m tired. It’s a lot of effort dragging this amount of poundage up a hill.

So, I’m aiming for 3 lb per week. That’s a lot, and will take saintly diligence and lots of will power to achieve. If I don’t manage it, I’ll loose more that 1 lb anyway, which is good.

By the way, I do not recommend anyone try any of my ideas out for themselves. For a start, if you do, I want money from you, at least £100 per pound lost. This is mainly to pay for the lawyers that I’ll need when you are diagnosed with liver failure or something and decide to sue me. Secondly, everyone should do their own thing. I don’t think there’s a quick fix for being overweight, everyone’s body, lifestyle, personality and eating habits are different, and all these things have an impact on what’s going to work for you. Use you head.

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