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13 Weeks: Stability Is Good. Right?

In the home stretch, and I've made some progress. But it's hard to tell, and I'll tell you why.

by
Charlie Martin

Bio

April 27, 2013 - 2:00 pm

Week 12 of my second 13 week season: low-carb diet and more exercise, tracking my weight, blood glucose, and body fat. You can follow me at my 13 Weeks Facebook page for daily updates, and you can join Fitocracy (free!) and follow my daily exercise, and maybe even start tracking your own.

You know what’s worse than a day of nonstop meetings? Five days of nonstop meetings. That was my week at the day job, which meant lots of stress and lots of unusual socializing. Still, it wasn’t all bad by any means, and the numbers this week have done well. I lost all of that peculiar bounce and was down to 269 lbs again on Wednesday; this brought the seven-day average down to 270, and as you’ll see in my bodyweight chart I’ve had more and more days under 270 and am still losing weight, albeit slowly.  

In a belated rush of intelligence, I got around to setting up my spreadsheet to compute the standard deviation of both my weight and my glucose. For those of you who aren’t statistics nerds, the standard deviation is a measure of how “wide” a distribution of numbers is, or in other words, how much things vary just randomly. It turns out the standard deviation of my weight is about 2.2 lbs. What that means is that if my weight weren’t changing at all, you would still expect to see it vary outside the range of roughly 268 and 272 pounds 3 days in 10.

The point is: when you’re losing weight slowly, it’s going to be hard to tell you’re losing weight at all.

I’ve got to admit right now I’m puzzled what the best thing to tell people might be if they were doing their own program. We all know that weight shouldn’t matter, but it does. A lot of people have suggested just weighing once a week, but that doesn’t actually help much, as you can see in the table. The standard deviation tells us that you have to lose about 5 lbs before you can have much confidence it’s not just random variation for a single measurement.

What you can do, though, is look at the graph:

Weight so far in this 13 week experiment.

On the chart you can see that I’m spending more days under 270 than I was before — something between 20 and 25 percent of the time in the last half of the 13 week experiment.

Glucose is a little more clear and the trend line is definitely down.

Of course, as we saw a couple weeks ago, I’m beginning to get to the point where I don’t want to reduce my glucose a lot more. Which, if you think of it, is quite a statement for someone who 25 weeks ago was diabetic.

Next week will be the start of my 13th week of this experiment, and I’m beginning to think about what the next 13 weeks will be. Right now, I’m thinking that for the next 13 weeks I will try a slightly higher carbs, low glycemic index diet — basically something like Tim Ferris’ Slow Carb diet. I’ve been experimenting with adding some beans to my diet the last week or so, while keeping the net effective carbs down below 30g most days, and I think the effect has been that I’ve actually lost a little more weight. The other thing I’ve got in mind is to try the 100 Pushups in 7 Weeks plan, except that I’ll be thrilled to get to 100 pushups in 13 weeks. I don’t think I’ve ever done 100 pushups.

In any case, I’m actually reasonably happy with the results, even though I did kind of hope to look like a Greek god — or at least a geek god — before now.


Date 7 day Weight 7 day Glucose 7 day Bodyfat Sum Fitocracy Points Weekly Fitocracy Points
2013-02-01 272.50 116.43 33.1 447 447
2013-02-07 272.63 114.57 30.79% 1881 1881
2013-02-14 271.91 110.43 30.36% 2606 725
2013-02-21 273.79 115.29 29.16% 3775 1169
2013-02-28 274.44 104.00 30.00% 4929 1154
2013-03-07 273.11 115.86 30.24% 6022 1093
2013-03-14 269.86 101.86 30.10% 7233 1211
2013-03-21 272.08 112.25 30.64% 7681 448
2013-03-28 270.57 113.86 30.26% (??) 8180 499
2013-04-04 271.31 103.86 29.95% (??) 8404 224
2013-04-11 275.20 109.57 29.80% (??) 9185 781
2013-04-18 273.97 111.86 (??) 9185 0
2013-04-25 270.09 111.43 (??) 9185 0
Δ since 2-1 -2.41 -5.00 -3.15% N/A N/A

Charlie Martin writes on science, health, culture and technology for PJ Media. Follow his 13 week diet and exercise experiment on Facebook and at PJ Lifestyle

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All Comments   (6)
All Comments   (6)
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And, Enough on losing weight slowly!
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Charlie,
Have you contacted the folks at the Boulder FP dept.? I'd like to try the big guns
Corwin
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm so glad you are doing this. My husband tried this a while back and had your car accident issue (without metal on metal contact), and I had no idea how to fix it until I read your post and the comments. Thank you.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
The trick with any program such as this is to stick with what's working and add variations slowly. It's really hard when you hit the point where the changes start slowing down.

But you are noting changes and continued downward trends. I'm glad you're sticking with this rather than throwing up your hands in despair and giving up simply because things are slow. Not that I expected that reaction since you have given yourself a reason to continue. But it's good for those who are working through the same thing, to see it's not just them.

As Sally said - you are a Geek God. :)
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
i've been trying to lose weight since late december and your posts have been helpful

personally, i never weigh myself and judge the process based a few things-- none are scientific in the least-- how my clothes fit (looser- had to tighten a few more notches in the belt,) how i look in mirror when i peek (my face looks much less swollen; rest is slowing falling into place,) and how my exercise sessions have been going (pretty diligent and i have been getting stronger and faster)

as a result of feeling a bit fitter, which has really only become noticeable
recently, i have been able to increase the vigor in exercise routine which sort of compounds the benefits so long as i dont injure myself

keep up the nice work -- on all fronts!

51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
But you DO look like a Geek God! And I mean that as flattery. I'll be interested to see how the slow carb goes. Seems like changing things up a little might be a good thing but I have nothing whatsoever on which to base that, other than instinct. Finally, another brilliant Charlieism "In a belated rush of intelligence..." Bahahahaha, that was good. Continued good luck to you, sir.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
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