Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Nine Months on the "Exercise Diet" - a quick update

9 months on the "Exercise Diet"
Blue line is the "raw" data from my morning weigh-ins
Green line is a simple 3-day average
Red line is a "trend" line, using the 90/10 formula.

Just a quick update this time.
That's 9 full months on the "exercise" diet.
Remember the graphic I posted after 8 months?
It showed the weight I gained while I was preparing for events (i.e. resting to make sure I was fully recovered) and the further weight gain from creatine.
I said that I would pee the creatine out of my system in three or four weeks.

Have a look at the graph at the top of the page.
Since I stopped taking the creatine my weight has dropped a bit again (as expected).

I had hoped to be running quite a bit more this Autumn, but I have a pain in my heel.
I might speculate that it is the runner's nemesis - "Plantar faciitis", and given that this statistically is the most likely cause of heel pain it might well be.
Anyway, I developed it dut#ring the period when I WASN'T running (!),
Mind you my job entails walking about 20 miles a week, so I still do quite a mileage on my feet, whether I am running or not.
Strapping for possible Plantar Fasciitis
I've done a few very slow jogs with Anna, and one serious cycling session (an hour-and-a-half in the "upper tempo" zone, up and down a stretch of road with a slight hill in it, with a roundabout at each end - about 2.1 km (about 1.3 miles) each way. 17 lengths of that at some pace soon gives one a good workout! When I got home I could barely walk :-)
So not as much exercise as I might have hoped.
But the creatine should have worked its way out of my body by now, and that alone would give a couple of kilos of weight loss (assuming I didn't put too much extra muscle mass on!)

So there we are,
If we take the "trend" line from the top graph, it reads about 91.5kg. My "start" weight (on January 1st 2015) was 96.5kg.
So after 9 months I am 5 kg (about 11 lbs) lighter.
As I have mentioned before, there are further, arguably bigger, benefits from increasing exercise rather than making an equivalent gain from restricting calorie intake.
More exercise is GOOD FOR YOU!
Plenty of scientific evidence that, for two folks of similar weight, if one doen't exercise much and the other one does, the one that does more exercise is likely to live longer, have less chance of developing stroke, heart disease, diabetes, etc. etc.

So what are you waiting for?
Get off your butt and do some exercise!
As for me, I'm going on another cycle ride - with some "hard", high-intensity" work. Not too much today - I have other things to do. Just a warm up, then about 30 minutes of "hard" cycling, then a "cool-down", then a nice cup of tea :-)

Update - 2nd October 2015 - What about my height?:
I've been publishing nice graphs of my weight for a while, but what about my height?
The classic line is: "I'm the perfect weight, but I'm a foot (30cm) too short!"

A simple way of measuring weight and height is the good old-fashioned BMI.
Weight (in kilos) divided by the square of Height (in metres).
("square" just means multiplying a number by itself. e.g if you want to paint an area of wall 3 feet by 3 feet, you need paint to cover 3 times 3 aqure feet of wall - that is to say 9 "square" feet of wall).
So (metric) BMI is height divided by (weight "squared").
So, if I weigh, say, 100kg (about 220 lbs), and I was 2 metres tall (about 6 feet and 6 3/4 inches), my BMI would be 100/(2x2), which is 100/4, which equals 25.
BMI also works in "standard"/"Imperial" measurements, but there is an extra factor that is included in order to make the answers match up with the "metric" answers. the reason why the formula works "OK" in metric is that it was devised by a Belgian scientist (Adolphe Quetelet), who worked in metric!
There are online tools that work it out nicely for "standard"/"Imperial" heights and weights, such as that on the CDC website, which also has a slightly different calculator for "children and teens".

So if I was 100kg and 2m tall, I would have a BMI of 25, which is pretty much the "line" between the weights for "normal weight" and "overweight".
Be aware that "overweight is only one of the "fat" categories (it is the lowest)  - there is "obese" and there is "morbidly obese", too. When you read news reports (and even scientific papers!), sometimes they lump "overweight" and "obese" together, but the negative health effects of being fat tend to be proportional to fatness, so, all other things being equal, while it is better to be "normal" weight (indeed, it is currently considered optimum to be in the lower half of the "normal"), it is better (less bad?) to be "overweight" than it is to be "obese"!
Even the CDC lumps all folks heavier than "normal" into the same advice, and omits the "upper" category of "morbidly obese", lumping all the very heavy folks into "obese".
"Obese" isn't a good place to be, but it still, healthwise, a LOT better than morbidly obese!
Similarly, it is better to be at the bottom of "overweight" than it is to be ay the top of the same "overweight" band.
But I guess the CDC would say that they are trying to keep things nice and simple, and folks who are any sort of overweight and/or obese really ought to lose a bit of weight.

Enough intro.
Am I 2 metres tall (between 6 feet 4 and 6 feet 5)?

Not quite.
I am about 6 feet 3 inches tall (about 1.90m).
This morning I weighed in at 91.1 kg in my (minimal) underwear.
So how do I fare on the BMI measure?
91.1 divided by 1.9 "squared"
91.1 / (1.9 x 1.9)
91.1 / 3.61 = about 25.25
So I just about get up into the "overweight" band.

Running the equation "backwards" allows me to calculate the weight I would need to be to be in any particular weight "band"
Using one set of fairly widely accepted definitions for the weight bands and BMI, one gets:
Morbidly Obese = BMI 40+, which for me gives 40 x 3.61, which means a weight of 144.4kg (about 318 lbs) or more.
Obese = BMI 30 to 39.9, which, at the "lower" end of the band, gives me 30 x 3.61, which equals 108.3kg (about 238 lbs). The "upper" end of the band is anything less than "Morbidly Obese"!
Overweight = BMI 25 to 29.9, which gives 90.25kg (about 199 lbs) up to anything less than "Obese",
Normal Weight = BMI 18.5 to 24,9, which gives 66.785 kg (about 147lbs) up to anything less than "Overweight".

Note, also, that being "underweight" is not particularly good for you either!
Thirty years ago, I was, at the age of 20, down in the lower reaches of the "normal weight" band.
Now, at age 50, I am attempting to get back into the upper reaches of the same "normal weight" band.

I like gicing you a graphic, so here is this year's weight data (the same as in the graph at the top of the page) replotted as BMI data, still covering the last 9 months.
My weight for 2015 plotted as BMI, with regions highlighted for "overweight" and "Normal weight"
As you can see, I have spent the year in the lower half of the "Overweight" band, briefly dropping into "Normal weight"
Anything above the "orange box" would count as "Obese" (or worse!), and below the "green box" would be the ubhealthy category of underweight. Not much danger of me being down there, methinks!

What about "body fat"?
Isn't that supposed to be a "better" measure.
BMI appears to be reasonably correlated with "body fat".
The great thing about BMI is that it is really easy to work out, and all you need to know is your height (which is pretty constant for folks over 21, unless you have a very unusual growth hormone problem, which almost no-one has, so don't worry about it!), and your weight (simple bathroom scales will do, but gyms have scales, as do some shopping malls, health spas and loads of other places.
Go online (about 3/4 of the way down the page), and you will find a formula that converts BMI to "body fat".

So I did.
I get a body fat percentage of about 25%.

But wait.
I have "fancy" scales that calculate body fat.
They give (as at this morning, with a weight of 91.9kg) a body fat percentage of 21.1.
(The scales use the "bio-impedence" method of fat measurement - arguably not the best, but at least they use MY body, not a theoretical "average"/"formula" body for measurement!).

So why would my scales be almost 4% less than the formula?
Well ...
See this article about why the formula works best for folks of average weight and average height who are aged about 30 (I'm a bit taller than average, and aged about 50!)
Tbh, I'm not even sure why age is a factor.
I guess older men are LIKELY to be a bit heavier, but that should show up on BMI anyway!
I guess older men tend to be less fit, and have less muscle as a result, so maybe there IS a reason for weight in the formula.

You want to look at my "exercise/fitness", and you can see I am fitter than the average Joe, aged 50 or any other age for that matter.
Earlier this year, I ran a half-marathon (13 miles), and I have run 10km (6 and a bit miles) in under an hour.
On the bike, I have put in 6 rides of over 100km (about 60 miles) including one of over 200km (it was actually 232km / 245 miles).
Most men of 50 just aren't that fit!
Most adults in general just aren't that fit, either!
Therefore, I'm likely to have a bit more of my weight as "muscle" rather than fat.

Mind you, I'm not exactly built like "Arnie" either. My muscles is mostly in my legs (all the running and cycling!), and I have a clearly visible "tummy bulge".
I have a few concerns that the scales (bio-impedence, remember) are measuring mostly the state of my legs, with the current passing up on leg and down the other. I suspect if that is how the scales work then they would tend to make my body fat look a bit lower than that of a body builder, even if we were the same weight and height and had the same overall "true" amount of body fat.

So, in conclusion, taking into account my current BMI and my current "body fat percentage" (as measured by a pair of bio-impedence scales), I am very likely to be just about on the "line" between "normal weight" and "overweight".
Good news in itself, and better than I was at the start of the year, but hardly the end of the journey.

Where to go from here?
I guess I would like to get my weight back down to the 85 kg (187 lbs) I used to weigh 17 years ago (when I was 33), and, as I want to do so without losing fitness (and muscle!), I guess that means getting my body fat percentage down to closer to 15% (it is 21.1% today!)

Update 2 - 2nd October 2015.
So I delved into my medical records (yep, I signed up for online access).
I have been weighed a few times over the years, and some of that data is available to me online.
As the measurement was carried out by a "professional", the data should be pretty reliable (it was often a nurse, sometimes a doctor).
That gave me another 5 BMI results spanning 2007 to 2014.
THen I searched my memeory for key events and weights.
I remember that when I cahnged to a particular workplace, I weighed 85kg when I started (I was more like 100kg when I left, but that data is already captured in the 5 "official" health records.
I remember that when I started work, way back when, I weighed about 70 kg.
So adding the "offical" weigh-ins from my medical records plus a few older "memoey" weights gives a fuller view of my life.
Of course, because the weights I have are "spot weights" they don't always reflect what was going on, and they make the changes look smoother than they were in practice.
But for what it is worth, I give you my adult life as a BMI chart!

My adult life as a BMI chart.
I reckon I am not the only one with a chart like that!
I found 5 weights recorded in my medical records that reflect 2007 to 2014, and then added a few more weights from memory at important times in my life. the one on the left (the lowest) is where I started work. Others are when I changed jobs, was a student, that sort of thing.
For the data before Jab 1st 2014, the "smoothed" data and the "raw" data are the same - there just aren't enough data points to make anything else meaningful.
Interestingly, that long straight line rising from the start has data points for 1984, 1993, 1998 and 2007, so it is not just a line with a point at each end - my weight really was rising fairly consistently over periods of 5 to 10 years!
My weight tops out when I start to take action to do something about it (iirc, it was when I got to about 100kg (220 lbs)

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