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Why I'm not losing weight: Alcohol

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Author Topic: Why I'm not losing weight: Alcohol  (Read 6105 times)

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ThomasJ

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Why I'm not losing weight: Alcohol
« on: April 24, 2011, 11:31:39 PM »

I'm a new SL dieter (been taking Flaxseed oil since Apr 4). I haven't seen much improvement, and I was curious about what could be negatively impacting my dieting.
I'm also a big fan of Quantified Self-style self-measurement, and I track lots of stuff every day. Since I have so much data, I thought some folks here might be interested in a little statistical analysis I did of my weight changes.

Using my trusty Withings scale, I have daily measurements going back to Jan 19, 2011. As long as Iím trying to lose a little weight, I thought it might make sense to ask, ďWhatís makes me gain weight?Ē Specifically, I looked at things that make my weight increase from what I measured today over what I measured yesterday. Below are the variables with a correlation of over 0.2 with a one-day weight gain. A positive correlation means it makes me gain weight the next day.

Zeo, 0.23; Sleeping more makes me fat? But see below.

Weight, -0.42; A higher weight today means Iím going to revert to the mean tomorrow (similarly for a lower weight)

Previous dayís weight change, -0.25; Same as above

FitBit steps, 0.28; Walking more makes me fat? This seems counterintuitive, so see below for a more likely explanation

Drank alcohol today, 0.32; Ah, drinking makes me gain weight. This certainly makes sense

Today is Monday, -0.3; This is probably losing the weight I gained drinking on Friday or Saturday

Today is Friday, 0.27; This is likely due to the fact that I mostly drink on Fridays.

Now Iíd like to do a little regression analysis here to see exactly whatís going on with the FitBit data and Zeo data, but unfortunately I only have about 12 daysí worth of FitBit.

However, one thing that walking is highly correlated with is drinking. So, if I go out drinking, I also walk around more than I usually would. (Itís also possible that if I walk around a lot, I donít feel as bad about having a beer or two in the evening.)

High Zeo scores also happen mostly on Saturdays and Sundays, and of course Fridays and Saturdays are the days Iím most likely to drink. This means that it once again all comes back to alcohol.

Iím strongly tempted to try a 2-week ďalcohol fastĒ to see how much my weight would improve.

In case people are interested in following my quantified-self/Shangri-La progress, my blog is at optimizedself.tumblr.com
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shovelqueen

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Re: Why I'm not losing weight: Alcohol
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2011, 04:49:29 AM »

Hi, Thomas,

Interesting stuff.  But remember that scale weight is a blunt instrument when it comes to measuring body change.  It is a total of muscle, bone, water content, fat tissue, stomach contents, bowel contents, fluid retention, possibly clothing weight, too.  Any of these factors (with the exception of bone, I guess) can fluctuate daily.  If you had a salty meal, you will weight more the next day due to fluid retention.  If you didn't move your bowels yesterday, you will weigh more this morning.  Emptying your bladder is good for half a lb lost, or more.  Strenuous exercise will cause fluid retention in your muscles.  It goes on and on. 

Many people use a moving average to assess truer weight changes, which smooths out the daily fluctuations.  There is a popular one at    http://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/online/hdo.html

Welcome to the SLD community.  Good luck with weight loss.
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2monkeymom

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Re: Why I'm not losing weight: Alcohol
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2011, 11:04:00 AM »

Have you charted the daily fluctuations against the known factors (sleep, exercise, water intake, ambient temperature, ingestion of as-needed medication, pollen levels, salty meals, alcohol consumption, etc)?

Daily info gathering only gives you part of the picture. If you chart it, you can often see things you might otherwise miss. For example, heat causes a mild bloat in me, so in that case I'm affected by ambient temperature. It can last for a day or so after a very hot day, while my body adjusts.
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