Week 23 – Big Data and Weight Loss

One of the more interesting problems in any kind of training regime is controlling your weight. The problem with controlling your weight is that you are unbelievably hungry almost all of the time.

If your like Lance Armstrong, then maybe it’s about how much discipline you have.

If your like me, it’s a painful personal struggle.

With this triathlon training, I thought it would be relatively easy to lose weight, but it has not been. In fact, it’s been very, very, very difficult.

One of the challenges is figuring out why. For me personally, food is like an addiction. I will eat ungodly amounts of food and not even remember that I ate them. I can convince myself of all sorts of delusions and illusions that explain my weight none of which have any bearing on fact.

For example, I tend to weigh less at the end of the week rather than at the beginning. This is a surprising result, because I thought my weight control problems were related to my eating habits at work. Because the mental model I had been that I was eating a lot at work, not over the weekend, I explained away my weight variation in a variety of ways. My favorite was that my long bike ride on Sundays was impacting my digestion…

In fact, the idea that the problem was the bike ride was so embedded in my head that I worked really hard to deal with the issue, eating even less during the week to combat this bike digestive problem.

And what made this worse was that I lacked the personal discipline to enter my weight data in a computer on a daily basis so I could track things  more carefully.

So I bought a new scale (withings) that automatically uploads my weight data to the cloud. Big data to the weight loss rescue! 

And lo and behold, after two months it was clear that my weight increased on Friday and Saturday and started to decline on Monday. And it was a pretty consistent pattern …

Well if the problem was my biking then that did not explain the gain on Saturday and it certainly did not explain the gain on Friday  – a day I typically did a long run of about 1->2 hours.

Confronted with this data I was able to examine my eating patterns and realized I was doing a bunch of things that were making weight loss hard. The first was that I was snacking on a lot of bad things on the weekend. The second was that to deal with the excessive eating on the weekend I was eating too little during the week and as a result snacking even more on the weekend.

Now with the data, I can at least start to figure out how to stop the snacking, increase the midweek eating and continue to lose weight.


One thought on “Week 23 – Big Data and Weight Loss

  1. Pingback: Week 88 – Damn you to hell big data | midlife crisis triathlete

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