Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Trending down!

Although I awoke this morning to watch a lunar eclipse, because of the cloud cover, I am simply getting ready for work. I'll go in early and try to get out a little early. Since I'm up though, I thought I'd make a quick update.

The weight and body fat % is trending in the direction I have been hoping - DOWN! Here's a quick screen shot of my charts:

An interesting note: My Body fat % seems to vary much more than my weight in the day to day. This is reflected more in the chart for BF%. As you can see, the slope is not as steep and in fact it had a little upwards trend for a couple of days. I think the BF% is more dependent on my hydration level at the moment I step on the scale.

The food is making all of the difference. I'm really not exercising any more than before, just making much better choices with the food I'm eating. Perhaps the biggest change is the variety of foods I've been eating. I didn't realize that your body gets used to what you eat, therefore your metabolism becomes complacent. WHO KNEW!

Well, between Coach Jeni's advice and the meals from e-mealz, I've been eating a lot more variety. Not only is that good for my body, it's also good for my head. The best part, I feel satisfied (as in I'm not feeling starved throughout the day) with the meal plan I've been working with.

With the last round of Holiday meals coming up this week, it will be interesting to see how next week's chart looks!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Progress, moving forward, keeping goals in sight and working towards meeting them. It's important that we can see progress being made. Progress comes in many forms, for some of my friends, it is in the form of completing a half or full Marathon. This weekend, MANY of my friends went to Kiawah and met goals they had been working towards for many months.

For some it was their first half or full and that was the goal. For others it was to set a new personal best. Congratulations to all of them for their efforts. Some perhaps didn't do as well as they'd hoped, but all were pleased with their result in the end. And, I suppose that counts big - one must be able to look oneself in the mirror and truthfully say 'I gave everything I had'. Kudos to all of them!

It's been a week since I posted my
tale of the tape. Not a long time really, but progress towards the goal is being made, bit by bit.

So far, the changes are not big, but I'm not worried about how fast things change, only that they are changing and going in the right direction. Recall that my reported numbers are a 7 day average value. In fact, I don't calculate a value unless there are at least 5 data points.

Of course, being an Engineer, I keep all of this data in a spreadsheet and I have a little chart that shows the (5 to) 7 day average values. This allows me to watch the overall trend. I know, NERD!

In my spreadsheet, I actually started recording data points on November 3rd. Because of a couple of business trips in November, I have a bunch of days where I did not have the opportunity to obtain my weight and % body fat. I did have two points that I could count, as those first couple of points are actually 6 day averages.

While I posted last week's numbers in my tale of the tape posting, I should use that first point from November 10th as my starting weight. That value was actually 181 lbs (6 day average calculated on Nov 10, 2010). It shows up in my spreadsheet and in my chart, so it will be visible to me. The point in last week's tale of the tape was to report the information all at once - including the body measurements.

I did weigh myself on November 20th, but it is not a 7 day average (or 6 or 5, it is only one day) and that day's weight was 182.6 lbs! Since this is not an average value, it is not counted and not shown in my weight chart.

So, what do my weight and % body fat charts show?
Here's the screen shots:

Yes, you can clearly see a downward trend in both the weight and the % body fat. I like that. That is progress towards my goal and it gives me motivation to continue.

What other progress have I made? I suppose it is visible in the chart above, but in my head it feels like a huge deal. I've been able to resist that stupid bowl of chocolate that lurks at my office! This has been the bane of my existence for a while now, and I knew it was not helping me one bit. We've moved into our new offices this past week, and that bowl is even further from me than before - that is a great thing!

The other big deal for me, I've been really good about the liquid carbs. Yes, I still like to have a beer (or two or three...), but I've pretty much kept that at bay even when I go out to a social event. Not totally, as I do enjoy a quality beer (for example a recent Pizza party I attended), but I'm making much more intelligent decisions about what
and how much I eat and drink.

And speaking of eating, the funny thing is I feel like I am eating more food now (and losing weight / % body fat!) than before! I certainly do get hungry, but my plan says I should be eating a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack! These are the times when that bowl of chocolate usually began calling my name. Instead, I have a healthy snack that tides me over until my next meal. It is awesome!

There it is, progress is being made. I will watch as those charts continue to show a downward trend over the next months. I do have some significant challenges ahead - Holidays with the family is going to be tough. Then, in January, I have to have some surgery as part of my orthodontic treatment. I'll be eating soft foods for a month or more. These will be challenging times to maintain a healthy balance of nutrition.

I've made it successfully through the Thanksgiving Holiday, so I have confidence going into the next phase of holiday parties. I've started the trend towards my goal, now I need to continue to progress!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Tale of the Tape

So last week I wrote about goals for 2011. I also wrote that I would be taking some measurements and putting them out here for the record. I’ll tell you how I take the measurements.

My scale measures both weight and % body fat.
Each morning when I awake, I take a quick trip to the restroom before stepping on my scale. I take the measurements while wearing my birthday suit. The best I can hope for is consistency in my procedure. Because my weight can vary from day to day, I use a rolling 7 day average for both weight and % body fat.
My base weight: 178.7 lbs, 26.4% (seven day average taken from Nov 30 to Dec 5)

I took some body measurements so I could establish a base. I used one of those cloth measuring tapes and made the measurements in inches.

Body Measurements
Here’s my baselines for the following:
Chest: 43.625”
Waist: 38.5”
Hips: 40.0
Thighs: L: 23.875”, R: 24.0”
Calves: L: 16.25”, R: 16.375”

Interesting that my legs are not symmetric. Not a big difference, but a difference nonetheless. Hopefully, I’ll end up losing only the fat and not any muscle during the next several months.

With my baseline established, I guess I can now set a specific goal for a percent body fat reduction. Since the ‘healthy’ body fat ranges I found in my internet search fell around 14-18%, It makes sense to target something in that range.

It’s interesting, if I multiply the weight above by (1-0.264) it should give me my lean body weight, right? The result of that equation is 131.6lbs. If I then take a ‘healthy’ body fat percentage of 16% (might as well target the middle I guess) and re-calculate a corresponding weight (using the lean body weight from above), I get a weight of 153 lbs.

I can’t imagine myself at 153 lbs. Even when I was in the Military, I weighed between 160 and 165. Thankfully, since I’m not targeting a weight but my body fat percentage, I’ll just monitor my weight and see how things go as the BF% drops.

It will also be interesting to see how things end up with the body measurements. I’ll post occasionally and re-take those measurements to see how it progresses.

Wish me luck.