While Spark People is a fantastic site for LOSING weight, it has some way to go before it's equally good at supporting MAINTAINING weight.
Here's an example:
Here's a graph of my weight for the past week:
The points on the tips of the green and red shaded areas are my daily weight entries. The red area means that for that day, or period of days, my daily weight entries were above the blue trend line. The green area means that for that day, or period of days, my daily weight entries were below the blue trend line.
My blue trend line weight has changed almost not at all, while I've fluctuated around it with some red and some green areas. This is what maintenance looks like.
Those "losses" in the green areas are the ones people are seeing on my friend feed. You don't see the gains on a feed, so although I'm gaining and losing the same 1-2 pounds over time (which is the definition of maintenance), it looks to my friends as if I'm still losing.
In fact, DDOORN actually commented on my feed this morning and asked why I was still losing weight when I'd said I was pretty much in maintenance mode.
What maintainers need is a feed that says "X MAINTAINED his/her weight for a week!" Or something like that.
And as I've suggested before, we could really use a weight average graph line like this over here at SP. It's not so necessary for loss mode, but very very valuable for maintenance mode, because the two cornerstones of maintenance are:
1) Frequent monitoring
2) Immediate correction
Without an averaging trend line, the monitoring is pretty much useless in the face of daily fluctuations.
Weighing once a week still does not average out whatever fluctuation you might be experiencing on the particular day that you decide to weigh yourself, so it will look pretty much the same as this, once you're maintaining.
By the time you discover you're outside the normal fluctuations, you've got a substantial 5 lbs or so to re-lose.
This is why I log my numbers using a weighted moving average.
Which is based on the Hacker's Diet. Here is a detailed explanation of how the weight graphing works. Follow this link and scroll down until you get to the part that says "Dexter's Diet."
I also use True Weight on my iPod, which is similar.
To learn more about the Hacker's Diet, you can visit the team page:
The basic principle is to watch your weight TREND LINE rather than the raw data and adjust your exercise and calorie intake to control it.
The good news is that with sites like physicsdiet.com you don't need to understand the calculations; all you have to do is put in your daily numbers and the website will do the magic for you, and leave you free to just watch your blue trend line.
I think, in order to prevent confusing my friends anymore, until something more appropriate for maintenance is implemented here, I'm going to start reporting the TREND LINE weight here instead of the actual raw numbers.
The past few weeks have been kind of scary, after getting the news that I'm at 19% body fat. I eased up on my calorie restriction. The trend went up. I clamped back down on it a bit. The trend went down.
In fact, I'm kind of stunned about the SHAPE of my weight curve:
From the looks of it, I'd say that I'm actually doing pretty well at maintaining, so far! :-o
I'm going to gradually ease that average line down to 150 and see how that feels.
I'm actually kind of amazed by how CONSISTENT the curve is. It's a fairly straight line down to 157 and then just STOPS there. Like someone drew it on there, not like someone actually LIVED that line...
But she did. And she freaked out and panicked a few times, and binged BY A LOT a few times, and generally sweated it.
It sure didn't FEEL like I had any control, really, at all... That I was doing this out there without a net.
But I'll tell you what. I lost weight by living by numbers, and it sure seems like I can maintain it by living by numbers. So I suppose my iPod calorie tracker (Lean Me Pro) and bathroom scale ARE my net, at the moment...
And the proper software for interpreting the results.
See SEEBEES3's blog for a more statistically robust monitoring system: