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More on daily weight tracking

Saturday, December 03, 2011

A while back I had entered a few of my old weigh-ins in the tracker, only to discover that there is only a single way to ever remove them - a way I didn't want to do. (You have to completely reset the measurements, meaning I'd lose all the more current ones I wanted to keep and have to re-enter them.)

Anyway, today I decided that if I couldn't delete them, I'd finish the process of entering them. So day by day I entered them. (And that's a pain too because when you click save, it gives two options - to the start page or to track more measurements. The latter doesn't care what day you just entered, it returns to today.)

Slowly, but surely, I entered them.

The really odd / funny thing that happens, though, is SparkPeople congratulates me every single time I drop two pounds or more. Which is absurd at times. Why?

I was entering daily weigh-ins for a good portion of this. That means that a two-pound loss isn't likely to be what I consider long-term loss. It's a fluctuation.

I might have just gone up four pounds in the days before or I might "regain" that in the days following, but for that day I was congratulated. Which meant one week looked something like this:

235.5 CONGRATS!!

Reality? I gained a half pound that week, and based on the daily numbers was climbing steadily. That one day was down from the day before, but I really hadn't lost 2 pounds.

Which is a huge part of why, if we choose to weigh ourselves daily, we have to mentally divorce ourselves from the "I lost 2 pounds!" mindset. Because given that week above, I'd have been:

:) Down half pound
:((( Up a pound and a half
:| Flat
:(( Up another pound
:)))) Down two pounds
:( Up another half pound

And if my mood followed that, I'd have spent half that week stressed about making no progress, one day deliriously excited and then crashed the next.

Now, to be fair, I was not trying to lose weight at that point. So when I recorded weights, I truly didn't care if it went up or down. I was obese, end of story. I just tracked it because 1) I had a scale and 2) it was interesting to see the trend lines.

Even now that losing weight is an expected part of eating healthier, though, I don't narrow my focus onto the scale and the number it tells me. I just add it to the chart and let the long-term story tell the tale.

That's for the time since I actively started tracking everything and being active on SparkPeople. The red line is the trending information. The diamonds are the actual weights.

I can see a brief plateau, I can see multiple times when my weight went "back up", sometimes for numerous days. But averaged out as the chart lists below, it's a weekly loss of 1.5 pounds - completely in a normal, healthy range.

That's the trick of daily weight tracking, in my opinion. Seeing it as part of the big picture. The number of pounds between today and yesterday are near meaningless. The flow through the week is important. The trend over multiple weeks or a month is the most useful information.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MADYZ360 12/4/2011 3:43PM

    This is incredible, I love how you explained it and it does make sense.. Though, i still sneak on the scale here and there to see, but I never take it seriously until the week is up.. its easier that way.. less heart break! :)

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TABBYJO88 12/3/2011 9:51PM

    i can't do daily way ins. They depresse me and then i want to give up

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LORILEEPAGE 12/3/2011 8:00PM

    I've always wondered how to deal with the fluctuations I saw when I weighed every day. I've now chosen to weigh only once a week because i let the daily weigh ins dictate my mood. I just don't deal well with it. Sounds like you've got it figured out.
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_JODI404 12/3/2011 7:48PM

    Really interesting info!!

I weigh myself daily, but I am in no way stressed out about what I know are normal fluctuations. For me, it is a control issue: making sure nothing is getting out of control if I don't keep my eye right on it!
I record my weights in a notebook, and I only move my Spark ticker if I have held the lower weight for at least one week, sometimes two if I really don't believe it!

Great perspective and congrats on your healthy trend line!!

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SABLENESS 12/3/2011 7:26PM

    Thanks! I needed some perspective today.

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This journey we're all taking

Friday, December 02, 2011

Sometimes when people talk about this whole change of lifestyle as a journey, it's easy to imagine it as a road, long and wide, paved, easy to follow. The reality is quite different.

The other day I was pondering on that and thought of the long ago (United States) settlers who heeded the call to "Go West!" Many set forth on that journey. Early on there weren't even trails. Later, there were many different trails, but no guarantee that one or the other was the way to the promised land.

All the trials and tribulations they might have encountered could probably be compared to what our journey to fitness is like. Some start closer to where they want to end up, some plan the journey for years without ever packing up their wagon, some overload that wagon with so much baggage it's a miracle they got out of their hometown. Others charge out in a blaze of excitement, only to be found some ways West with a broken wheel. Some see a town springing up along the way and decide it's better to settle there than face the future uncertainties. External forces impact them as well, from illnesses and injuries to self or others, and even hostile attacks. There were probably even more than a few families that started together, then had want to quit the journey and complain about being forced along - or turn around and drag those who still wanted to go with them.

Springboarding forward from Ye Olde Western Settlers, I grew up on science fiction. I remember desperately wanting our generation to be the one that built a colony ship and set off into space. Who cared if we had a planetary destination picked out yet? The goal was the exploration and colonization might be many generations later, long after we early "settlers" headed out on the "trail".

Even so, the same things applies - how difficult the journey would be, how much dedication it would take, how much work. There'd be so much to leave behind, things shed along the way as choices are made.

All for what?

An unknown "better" out there somewhere. We might not be 100% sure what life will be like, we may have filled it out with lots of dreams - either things we remember with the sheen of "good old days" or things we hope for with the vigorous anticipation of "the future is ours".

No matter what, it is better than now. That much we know beyond a doubt. What we are trying to leave behind, we can see, feel, taste, measure the pressure of it. We know we want free of it.

And so the risks we face, the difficulty, the detours, the ruts our wheel gets stuck in, even when we fall off the rickety wagon for the twentieth time, they're worth it. Because "better" is out there and this journey will get us there if we stick to it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALWAYSOWNIT 12/2/2011 12:10PM

    I loved this are gifted !!

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_JODI404 12/2/2011 11:30AM

    I absolutely LOVE your Pioneer analogy!!!

"All the trials and tribulations they might have encountered could probably be compared to what our journey to fitness is like." the baggage.. the broken wheel...settling for a closer (non goal) town.... illnesses and injuries.

I think you are a really great writer! You have a clever mind, and are a deep thinker from what I observe. I truly enjoy your blogs. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your journey!!

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BUSYGRANNY5 12/2/2011 7:41AM

    Wonderful blog! I enjoyed your comparisons! Have a great day!

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Stage 3 Visual Motivation Sheet

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

So, really, this is proving harder than I really expected it to be. I should have known better, since I was never the collage kind in school years ago. Nor am I a visual person. I don't mentally picture myself fitter. I don't dream in images. So trying to find images for any of my motivations is really throwing me for a loop.

I threw together one, but I know it's not really what's intended ... so I don't want to use it just to be done with the step.

How do I think? One part is what I call spatially. A good example is how I give directions. I can't "see" where roads would be, but I stand and turn and point and just KNOW this road goes this far, curves like that, then stops there. The relative distances are all connected. Similarly, I have this mental idea of the spaces I'll fit in, how much room my body needs to maneuver - without it being a "picture" of how I'd look in that condition.

Another part is almost verbal, but in my head. When I meet someone, I won't be able to remember a face by just looking. So I repeat their name in my mind and the words that I think describe them, or name off features that are distinctive. Similarly, when I imagine being fit, I don't have these pictures of athletic bodies. I have this verbal list of what I will be able to do - this many reps of this, run up three flights without being out of breath, and so on.

I'm going to keep trying. But if I can't come up with much more ... I think I'll just surrender and use my first attempt.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_JODI404 12/1/2011 11:32AM

    I think your fist attempt is awesome!! We are all unique, and your idea works for you!! emoticon emoticon

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November comes to a close and on to December!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Reviewing my November goals and removing them from my Main Page. I'm also going to remove the two Winter goals that are already completed, while keeping the two that are done.

== November Goals==
1) Weight stably below 235, possibly hitting 230 (but not failure if it doesn't)
DONE - I've pretty much stayed below 235 most of the month, even if I did climb and plateau during one week at 234-ish. Down to 229 today.

2) Menu planner used at least one full week (as in planned ahead, shopped for, and eaten)
DONE - Though admittedly I had to make a point of doing it this past weekend as I hadn't earlier in the month.

3) Recipe book to "Microwave for One" found and at least two recipes used
DONE - Not quite the book I was looking for, but I did find a "Microwaving for 1 or 2" and pick out two recipes. Second one I'm making tonight. Many of the recipes are very basic, such as "scrambled eggs" which pleases me because that builds a base rather than some absurd fancy meal I'll eat rarely.

4) Trick or Treat Trot in 48m or less, Turkey Trot in 45m or less (17m mile is "easy" now)
Mostly DONE - Turkey Trot was not at as fast a pace as I had hoped. They literally had 150% better turnout and had not planned for that many people. The entire race was rather congested and the finish line took 2 minutes to cross. That said, my first mile by my watch was 15:17 and my second was 15:51. So when I could move, I was making the kind of pace I was aiming for.

NOTE: I was really pleased, though. The race organizer actually sent out an email apologizing for those issues and, rather than making excuses, talked about plans to make it smoother next year. Well done, IMO.

5) Keep on Sparking
DONE - My SparkStreaks are all going strong. I've tracked food and fitness every day, posted on teams and replied to blogs.

== By Winter goals: ==
1) Find at least one more 5k walk to participate in. Improve my time / speed in each.
DONE - Signed up for and participated in the Turkey Trot, which made my third. Time for Turkey Trot was slower due to 2m finish line snafu, but my watch time as we came to a crawl was 47:47, which would have been faster.

2) Have no more than three days in which I fail to get my walk or ST or cardio done. (Treated like sick days - don't take unless necessary.)
Still in Progress - haven't taken any days off yet

3) Get GOOD walking / running shoes.
DONE - Really am glad I have them

4) Be actively using whichever menu planner I've picked.
Still in Progress - still adding foods, still adding recipes, and only used it to plan and shop this past week

All in all, good so far and maybe I need more challenging goals.

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_JODI404 11/30/2011 11:21PM

    I agree, all in all you are totally rocking it!!!

Way to go on accomplishing so many goals!! Your Spark is STRONG!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Walking to my best friend's house

Monday, November 28, 2011

I realized with all the walking I do, the idea of picking a virtual destination would be really fun. I've joined one of the "walking to _______" teams, though I haven't yet figured them out.

My destination? Edmonton, Alberta in Canada. My starting point? San Jose, California in the United States. Total distance by road is a smidge over 1500 - varying by the route I take.

I'm going to be using Google Maps to plot out how far my weekly miles walked takes me. I might take small detours for scenery or checking out a city. I'm not going to go cross-country, but I probably will walk "along" interstate highways that don't really allow pedestrians.

At around 10 miles per week right now, this is a trip that could take me three years to complete. Less if I keep upping my distance traveled somewhat.

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_JODI404 12/1/2011 11:33AM

    Very cool! Enjoy the scenery!! ;)

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REALLY_ROBIN 11/29/2011 7:15AM

  Be careful on those highways! :) Sounds like a great idea to stay motivated!

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TABBYJO88 11/29/2011 1:44AM

    emoticon It sound very interesting.

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