Saturday, 25 February 2012

Diet Report 6: Don't Screw Up The Data

I think since I achieved my first milestone weight of 23 stones and 7 lbs I've definitely found the going more of a challenge. The actual mechanics of the diet have been working out well. I'm eating enough to keep me happy, often staying below my threshold, getting at least two bouts of exercise a week and all is golden and rosy. The chemistry of my metabolic processes, however, are having a harder time.

I suppose that the clues are there in the fact that Weight Watchers and similar operate on a "monthly subscription" basis. People have to diet for a long time to see serious results. It's taken me about half my life to get this fat. Getting unfat was never going to be easy.

The problem is that after that initial "thank goodness" as your body dumps fat even it knows it didn't need the numbers spiral slowly down instead of showing an inexorable downward spike. It's like counting from 10 to 1 by going: 10 9 8 7 9 10 9 8 7 6 7 8 6 9 7 6 5 7 7 7 8 6 5 7 7 5 6 5 4 6 6 5 7 6 5 4 3 5 5 6 5 5 4 4 5 4 3 2 5 4 4 3 2 2 1.

The actual firm pieces of downward motion are fleeting and incremental, sometimes the numbers swoop back upwards alarmingly but there always comes a point at which you've left certain data points behind, the first time you see a new low is nice but it's no guarantee you're going to see it again for a while.

For example, at this stage I've left 23 7 behind. I haven't seen it in weeks. I've seen 23 0 once but mostly I've ping ponged around between the two with little seeming progress in either direction.

This, then is that plateau we've been warned about. Except, it's not a plateau, it's like the last few revolutions of a large ball bearing in a giant metal cone before it plops out of the hole in the centre. It's swooping up and down it looks like its stuck to the side of the cone but at some point it has to drop.

The hard part about this would have to be motivation. Recording a spiralling carousel of figures that dance up and down and round and round is somewhat bizarre and not very interesting. I will often say "bah" at my daily weigh in because the point is one I've seen before and not as low as I might have liked. This is the point at which a dieter needs something else to keep them in the game.

One of the things that will keep them at it, I suppose, is the weekly flag points. At that point the trend will out and it should never stay stable or increase two weeks on the trot (as long as we're being good). However, the problem with that is a week is a long time to wait for news.

In my case, and everyone else's mileage may vary, I am fascinated by the observational process of it all. And so I daren't say sod it and reach for the cream buns because I do not want to sully my data!

It's a strange motivation but what I guess I am saying is that everyone must have their own day-to-day reason for sticking with a programme of calorie-restricted weight loss. I have two, I love my data and I love my new foods.

I think having reasons like this are key. As I haven't mentioned it for a while I shall say now, go eat some cheese, or spread some butter on something. Fat is very important and 65g isn't going to magically appear in your daily food intake unless you take action now!

See you later for the weigh in.

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