Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Trending Weight Loss Numbers

The one thing that I'm doing really differently on this venture is trending my weight loss numbers.  One day I found this online book called The Hacker's Diet, and it really interested me.

I've always been a big fan of keeping journals, tracking numbers and recording data.  This book was written by a computer programmer who lost an extraordinary amount of weight by doing what he does best:  recording data and interpreting the numbers.

If you look through the book you'll find a lot of charts and graphs and even formulas.  Now, I love that kind of stuff but if you're not into it then just skip to the pages that talk about trend tracking.

Trend tracking is basically taking your DAILY weight and accounting for all the "noise" that goes with it.  For example, on any given day we all know that our weight can fluctuate by POUNDS up or down.  And sometimes, we can be ANGELS and still see that scale go strangely upward and it just ruins the day!

So what this guy did was use math (moving averages) to show what was really going on.

This is the example he shows:

November  1990

Date      Day      Weight      Trend       
----      ---      ------      -----       
  1       Thu       172.5      173.5         
  2       Fri       171.5      173.3         
  3       Sat       172        173.2         
  4       Sun       171.5      _____         
  5       ___      ______      _____        
  6       ___      ______      _____       
The Date Column:  Obviously you put whatever the date is
The Day Column:  and the actual Day
Weight Column:  The weight that shows up on the SCALE
The Trend Column:

This is where it gets fun.  The first number on the Trend Column (the one without anything else in the row) is your initial starting weight.  So the first day you decide to start, step on the scale, write this number here.  Then the next day step on the scale again:  In the example above, the guy weighed 172.5 so you write that number under the WEIGHT column.

Then you do a little math.  All you do is subtract that day's weight from the previous day's trend number.

So take day 1's weight and subtract it from the Trend number above it:



Then you take the -1.1 and shift the decimal point over one place to the LEFT = -.11 and then round up.  (EXAMPLE:  if you had gotten -1.7 you would shift the number to -.17 and round to -.2)

I know it sounds complicated but hang in there.

Then you take that tiny number and subtract it from the previous day's trend:

-     .1

Oh wow.  I don't know if this makes any sense.  Then you continue from there.  Take the next day's ACTUAL scale reading (in the chart that would be 171.5) and then subtract it from previous trend number (173.5) and so on and so forth.

And I found that doing this helped with one huge thing.  I didn't freak out about those crazy numbers on the scale anymore.  If you look at the chart above at the Weight Column - you'll see those numbers just go back and forth back and forth.  But the Trend Column is just steadily decreasing. 

See, it takes out the noise.

And as long as you're doing what you're supposed to (ie:  eating right, exercising) that Trend column will just continue to decrease - even if one day you weigh more unexpectedly.  And if that Trend column starts increasing - then you know you're doing something wrong and it's time to reel it in.

I'll post a chunk of mine when I finish out the month so you can see what mine looks like.

I thought it was something worth sharing.  I started mine mid December and it takes 2 seconds to do and it COMPLETELY helps with those days when the scale just isn't showing what it should.

Because lets face it, we ALL need help on those days :)

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30 Days to ... by JH is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.