|19 1/2 months on the diet|
"blue" is "raw" data, "green" is a three-day smoothing, red is a "90/10" smoothing algorithm
Count it how you like, when you have enough data points, trends become obvious.
Why does weight matter?
Well, there are the general points about health, and there are the specific points about sport.
In sport, in general, the tendency is less weight = faster/further
I have published the entire graph, not just the highlights, to give an example of "real world" dieting.
After an intial fall in the first part of 2015, by Summer my weight was creeping up again, and by the 15th of August 2015, I weighed in just 1.7 kg (3 3/4 lbs) lighter than when I started ...
Come on, be honest.
How many of you would have called it a day at that point.
8 months of cutting back on the good stuff (CAKE! CHOCOLATE! GIMME SUGAR!), and running and cycling my butt off, and I ended up with just 3 3/4 lbs of weight loss.
Surely time to change to some new diet?
There is always a new diet doing the rounds, with some celebrity saying how it changed their life, etc. etc.
But I didn't change diet.
I kept going.
And as the temperatures dropped from the Summer heat, so did my weight!
Think you are working hard because you are hot and sweaty?
That's the gymnasium fallacy.
Try running in the cold, and see what happens - a LOT less sweatiness, but a lot more calorie usage.
Why is this?
Well, it is thermodynamics again.
Our bodied like to be at, give or take, 37 degrees C (98-ish F).
So if I am out in air at 20 degrees C, my body needs to make heat to stop me cooling and getting hypothermia. If the temperature is just 5 degrees C, then I gotta work hard, just to stay alive.
Stand outside in a tee-shirt in the winter, and you will see what I mean.
The other big change I made was on medical advice.
Initially, I had planned to reduce or eliminate the food we know isn't that good for us. Cakes, chocolate, burgers, crisps (potato chips US).
So, anyway, I got called up by my local medical practice.
Just a general look over for folks about my age (I had just turned 51 at the time).
Take a few bloods, answer a questionnaire, see what comes out.
Since I don't smoke, and never have, that part went quickly (basically, as I am sure you all know, the medical advice is STOP SMOKING).
Then the drinking questions.
How many drinks that week?
The week before
When did I have a drink?
well, I probably shared a bottle of wine with my wife three months before.
No more questions ...
(the general advice is cut down on the booze, too, but it is hard to cut down on hardly any!)
Exercise - well, I usually walk 5 miles a day, cycle a few miles a day, plus much longer rides.
in 2014, I rode my first "metric century". By the time of the test, I had ridden, iirc 6 metric centuries in 2015. I was fitter than the nurse ;-)
So just wait for the bloods.
Not so good on the cholesterol.
Cut back on the fat, particularly the saturated fat, they said.
So I did.
And the weight fell off.
The weight fell off so well, that by Jan 6th 2016, I was beginning to be concerned about how much weight I was losing. So I started eating extra, whether I was hungry or not, to try and stabilise my weight for a bit.
I started by aiming at a 82-84 kg weight, but it became obvious that I was falling out the bottom of that range, so I went for a 80 to 84 kg weight range.
And that is where I am now.
A follow up check confirmed that my cholesterol numbers had improved. Whether it was the diet change, or whether it was simply losing the weight, I can't say. But there is a definite correlation between weight, exercise and lower cholesterol. And we all know what improves what!
Obviously, things don't always go smoothly. I was doing great in training up until Easter (2016), and then things fell apart a bit (you can see a little bump in the graph).
As the weather has got warmer, I got heavier, and now I have cut back on my training because I have a knee injury - so it is watch the scales and try to keep it off with less exercise.
Overall, am I happy?
I originally had the (modest) idea that I would like to lose about 1.6 kilos (3.5 lbs) by the Summer of 2015, and keep it off until Christmas, then aim for another coupke of kilos (4 pounds, say) the year after, with the long-term goal of getting down to about 85 kg (187 lbs).
I chose 85kg, because that is what I was in the Summer of 1998, before I moved to a "desk" job, and before I started working regular night shifts (not good for the weight either!)
So I have got down to 85 kg.
Be nice to be 75kg, the weight I was before I moved to London, before I had a motor car, when I used to cycle everywhere.
But my main focus will be on stopping my weight getting back up again!