Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Graph day.

I use Excel to track my weight loss (or gain). I weigh myself every morning just after getting out of bed. This guarantees the most consistency in the numbers from day to day. Also, as a mini target, I look to my weight on Monday morning as a judge as to how much I am loosing weekly.

So, what good is this obsessive relationship with the scales doing me? Well, the main one is that it keeps me focused at the task at hand. I know every day, as I contemplate whether to exercise, what to eat or whether to have a beer, that tomorrow morning I’ve going to stand on the scales of truth. If I only weighed myself weekly, I could see me saying to myself I can have that curry, I have time before Monday to make up for it, I’ll just try harder tomorrow. If I’m weighing in daily, there is no room for delusions like these.

As well as recording the numbers, I’ve created a couple of graphs to help visualize what’s going on.

Here’s the first one, which is concerned with where I’ve been. (click on it for a detailed view)
That is, it highlights how my weight changes from day to day, and the cumulative result of these daily changes. I think the daily change bar chart really highlights how much things can change day to day. Falls in weight tend to be small and frequent, whereas any gains tend to be whopping large ones, on two cases, over a 2 lb rises (that hurt). Now I don’t imagine that all these fluctuations are actual changes in the amount of excess fat I’m carrying, they’re not. Rather, they’re mostly to do with hydration and, er, what’s currently working it’s way through me, if you know what I mean. For instance, the larger swings in weight are almost always related to whether I’ve been drinking alcohol. In such an case, my weight usually takes a drop (unless I was drinking beer) then takes a huge jump. After about 3 days, this works itself out and I can see my actual weight again.

The second graph I created is more forward looking. (Again, click on it for a detailed view.)
It still shows my progress, but it is focused on where I’m headed. As well as my progress so far, it also shows projections into the future for 2, 2 ½, and 3 lb per week weight loss. This shows me whether I’m meeting my targets or not and whether I need to try harder or not. This is the graph that helps with my incentive to keep going, as I can see where I’m going to end up in the not to distant future. You see, 2 ~ 3 lb per week, or ~0.3 lb per day weight loss means nothing to me; I need to see the big result, whether I magically drop to 180 lb sitting here right now, or it takes me until June, I don’t care, but I need to see it. And this graph lets me see it.
I’m going to post the graphs every week, as a further incentive to stay away from the dark (chocolate) side.

Today’s weight was 17 stone 0.8 lb (238.8 lb)

No comments: