So, as noted in passing in several other posts, I decided at the beginning of the year that I was going to make a serious effort to lose weight. In order for any such project to work, I need to give myself arbitrary and completely inflexible rules to work with– the minute I start allowing exceptions to the rules, I start backsliding down the slippery slope, to mix a metaphor. One of those rules was that I have to weigh myself daily, and record the results– otherwise, I stop keeping track, and the next thing I know, I’m back up over 280.
Of course, if I’m going to have a big collection of numerical data, sooner or later, I’m going to end up making a graph of it. I’m a scientist, that’s what I do. You’re just lucky I didn’t try to find a fit function before posting about it here…
(Other notable features: the big gap in mid-February is Boskone, as the Sheraton didn’t provide an in-room scale. The apparent weight quantization effect is an artifact of the cheap scale I got at Wal-Mart a few years back– it tends to get stuck on a single value every now and then. I don’t really think my weight has ever been stable to within a tenth of a pound for five days running…)
Anyway, in case you were looking for the secret to the ScienceBlogs Weight Loss Plan (and won’t that drive some serach engine traffic…), I’ll put the rest of the rules below the fold:
1) Get more exercise. Mostly, this has come in the form of playing basketball as often as possible– I try for MWF at lunch, but usually end up missing one day a week or so. This past term, I made an effort to miss fewer hoops dates. I also made it a point to run more when I was playing, and generally force myself to play harder (which has drawn a few comments from the regular players as well).
With the return of nicer weather, I can add in biking to work a couple of days a week.
2) Take the stairs. My office and most of my classes are on the third floor, and my lab is in the basement. My usual practice has been to take the stairs down from the third floor, but the elevator back up. For the last three months, I’ve forced myself to take the stairs up as well.
This is one of the points where inflexibility is key. The only allowed exceptions are if I’m carrying something heavy or fragile– otherwise, I take the stairs. Even if I’ve just come back from playing basketball for an hour and a half. This has led to some gasping and panting when I get back to my office after a hard game, but if I let myself take the elevator then, soon enough, I’ll be taking it all the time. One of my colleagues now thinks I’m a lunatic as a result.
3) Develop stomach problems. There are two really dramatic drops in weight on there– from 265 to 250 over the span of about two weeks, and the drop from 250 to 243 over the past week. Those coincide with the worst of the heartburn problems, and going on the Chinese Prison Diet (rice and vegetables) to try to compensate. I realize that this is not healthy in the long term– it’s not even particularly healthy in the short term, but it’s the only thing that works to calm my stomach down to the point where I can think about eating a more balanced diet (which accounts for the long stretch at 250 lbs).
Of course, this part of the plan has also prevented me from enjoying any of the supposed benefits of weight loss. In particular, I want to punch the doctor who said “You know, if you lose 30-40 pounds, you’ll never have a problem with reflux again.” I’m sleepy all the goddamn time, I get tired even faster than I did at the start of the process, and at the absolute low point of the prison diet, I got light-headed while playing basketball, and it took me a good ten minutes to get undressed to shower. Kids, don’t try this at home.
Thanks to this simple plan, I now weigh less than I have since my freshman year in college. Of course, by the absurd standards used these days, that still puts me at the high end of “overweight.” But, hey, my stomach’s still messed up…