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A Little Anecdote on Fluctuations or Whooshes

SilentpadnaSilentpadna Member Posts: 1,304 Member Member Posts: 1,304 Member
I hadn't weighed myself in over 2 months. I've been eating at roughly maintenance through the holidays, but started a recent cut last week. I expected to weigh in within a range. I did, within a couple of pounds. That was yesterday.

This morning, I weighed in at 1.4 pounds less. Should I be thrilled about that? (I'm not).

Was it a whoosh? Maybe. Was it fat? Definitely not (I didn't eat -5900 calories yesterday); maybe a portion of it was. Was it the loss of water or a fluctuation? Probably.

I've been controlling caloric intake via a food scale for almost two years now. It always works.

If I took those two scale numbers in a vacuum, I could conclude that my deficit is working. But would I be correct? On the other hand, I know that the last 2 days, my deficit has been 870 and 1070 (approximately) - a little bigger deficit than I plan for.

The answer is that I trust the food scale far more than the bathroom scale. If I carry a 500 calorie deficit (or more) today, it's just as likely I'll have 2-3 pounds more (or less) on the scale tomorrow.

Just a real world example that you can't know in the short term. I preach on data windows being 6-8 weeks or more. If I was wanting to results every day, and didn't know what I know now, I would be thrilled about how my diet was "working" - not realizing that this fluctuation probably happens when I'm trying to gain or trying to maintain. Two data points. Not enough to base a conclusion on. If I would have weighed in at 1.4 pounds more instead of less, knowing that my deficits were what they were, could I conclude anything? (Don't answer; it's rhetorical - I have no basis yet for any type of conclusion).
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Replies

  • quiksylver296quiksylver296 Member, Premium Posts: 28,074 Member Member, Premium Posts: 28,074 Member
    Good stuff! <3
  • SilentpadnaSilentpadna Member Posts: 1,304 Member Member Posts: 1,304 Member
    xudnwe5ils0b.png

    It looks like this image thingy worked, I revisited this post because there are more fluctuation posts out there - they happen every day....It's been 10 days since I started weighing myself daily again. After the last post, I gained some more weight while on a deficit. "How can that be?" Then another whoosh. And another. Huh?

    I'm not in any position to claim that this has any meaning....yet. I've got 32-46 days or more to go. It's tempting to draw conclusions though isn't it?

    But I could be back up to 211 tomorrow. And if I do, then what do I conclude? Answer? That I'll still have 31-55 days to go before concluding anything. B)

    [Edit - got my days numbers wrong, meant 6-8 weeks of data, not 4-6, although 4-6 might tell me a little bit]
    edited February 2019
  • try2againtry2again Member Posts: 3,560 Member Member Posts: 3,560 Member
    That's a good quotable line... trust the food scale, not the bathroom scale :)
  • suziecue25suziecue25 Member Posts: 289 Member Member Posts: 289 Member
    I only weigh once a week and really cannot be bothered with analysing day to day fluctuations...all I know is I am in a deficit......... I am losing weight at the rate of 1lb every week [past 9 weeks]......I know there will be weeks ahead when I don't lose 1lb either way because weight loss isn't linear.

    Seems to me the more complicated you make the process of losing weight the more angst you feel.

  • suziecue25suziecue25 Member Posts: 289 Member Member Posts: 289 Member
    When you get down to the territory of the last 5-10 pounds or are just losing vanity weight, weekly weigh ins are not going to paint any kind of accurate picture and if you're lacking in patience in any way, you're never going to reach goal.

    Understanding that you're going to have fluctuations that mask your losses is REALLY crucial when you get to the end game. Grasping this knowledge early on will see you through to the end.

    I have the patience of Job lol ..... I've reached goal before [lost 55lbs weighing once a week] maintained well then stopped smoking and piled it back on...now losing it again.
  • dsbooheaddsboohead Member Posts: 1,900 Member Member Posts: 1,900 Member
    suziecue25 wrote: »
    I only weigh once a week and really cannot be bothered with analysing day to day fluctuations...all I know is I am in a deficit......... I am losing weight at the rate of 1lb every week [past 9 weeks]......I know there will be weeks ahead when I don't lose 1lb either way because weight loss isn't linear.

    Seems to me the more complicated you make the process of losing weight the more angst you feel.

    AMEN!
  • GottaBurnEmAllGottaBurnEmAll Member Posts: 7,722 Member Member Posts: 7,722 Member
    I feel a bit of relief now that I trust the food scale and now that I understand and trust the weight loss process.

    I haven't had any real body weight losses in about 4 weeks. As a matter of fact, Libra even showed an uptrend in my weight. Now in these past four weeks I've had 2 different illnesses, worked out much less than usual, spent some of that time eating maintenance calories, and the rest eating at a deficit. It isn't delightful to not lose, but I still trusted the process and trusted that I was weighing and logging my foods properly

    Now the good part: I've had weight losses for the last 3 days straight. I'm exactly on track for where I should be weight-wise. So glad I've learned to trust and not given up when the scale wasn't moving.

    Oh I'm not alone with the silly "gaining according to the trending app when I'm really losing" thing!

    This was a stumbling block for me back the first time that it happened and I got into a bad place because of it. It took some time, reading, and reflection to work my way out of it. Collecting data in a spreadsheet, logging tightly, and remembering what it was like back when I first started and had faith in the process made all the difference this time.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 19,794 Member Member, Premium Posts: 19,794 Member
    I feel a bit of relief now that I trust the food scale and now that I understand and trust the weight loss process.

    I haven't had any real body weight losses in about 4 weeks. As a matter of fact, Libra even showed an uptrend in my weight. Now in these past four weeks I've had 2 different illnesses, worked out much less than usual, spent some of that time eating maintenance calories, and the rest eating at a deficit. It isn't delightful to not lose, but I still trusted the process and trusted that I was weighing and logging my foods properly

    Now the good part: I've had weight losses for the last 3 days straight. I'm exactly on track for where I should be weight-wise. So glad I've learned to trust and not given up when the scale wasn't moving.

    Oh I'm not alone with the silly "gaining according to the trending app when I'm really losing" thing!

    This was a stumbling block for me back the first time that it happened and I got into a bad place because of it. It took some time, reading, and reflection to work my way out of it. Collecting data in a spreadsheet, logging tightly, and remembering what it was like back when I first started and had faith in the process made all the difference this time.

    For those using Libra**, I'd recommend going into the "Advanced Preferences", and messing around with the Smoothing Days and Forecast Days. You will get noticeably different trend lines and projections depending on those settings. By playing with them, you may get an idea whether different settings might work better for you in your current stage of weight management, even if you don't understand the underlying math; at the very least, you'll begin to understand that this is a statistical tool, not a crystal ball.

    Don't be afraid to change it, it doesn't affect your stored data, it just affects how the apps calculates values and draws lines: After playtime, you can put the settings back to the defaults, if that's best for you.

    These days, in a form of maintenance where I eat very unevenly, I'm mostly using smoothing = 30, forecast = 60. I used the default 7 & 7 all the way through weight loss.

    ** I assume you can do similar experiments with other weight trending apps, but I don't know the specific options and settings for others.
  • PAV8888PAV8888 Member Posts: 7,918 Member Member Posts: 7,918 Member
    With trendweight, my favorite, you can't mess around with the equations and the graphs like you can with libra, and I believe happy scale.

    And yes, I too had a reverse to reality trend though this only happened when I was applying a 100 to 150 Cal a day average deficit, and the reasons, on reflection, were known. In my case sodium, then exercise, followed by sodium and food in transit one after the other and extending to a consecutive period of 8 days.

    Much more common is the situation where the previous trend continues for a number of days even after you've changed the direction of your deficit/surplus.

    All these apps will eventually show the correct point of time when a change to the weight trend takes place; but there will be a delay until they show it.

    Which, if you think about it, makes sense since they're designed to smooth out spurious fluctuations by considering the past x amount of days together with your new data. Therefore your new trend will not fully show till it is established for the full x days.

    Patience, small changes that accumulate, and consistency in your logging really do pay off!
  • lalalacroixlalalacroix Member Posts: 883 Member Member Posts: 883 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I feel a bit of relief now that I trust the food scale and now that I understand and trust the weight loss process.

    I haven't had any real body weight losses in about 4 weeks. As a matter of fact, Libra even showed an uptrend in my weight. Now in these past four weeks I've had 2 different illnesses, worked out much less than usual, spent some of that time eating maintenance calories, and the rest eating at a deficit. It isn't delightful to not lose, but I still trusted the process and trusted that I was weighing and logging my foods properly

    Now the good part: I've had weight losses for the last 3 days straight. I'm exactly on track for where I should be weight-wise. So glad I've learned to trust and not given up when the scale wasn't moving.

    Oh I'm not alone with the silly "gaining according to the trending app when I'm really losing" thing!

    This was a stumbling block for me back the first time that it happened and I got into a bad place because of it. It took some time, reading, and reflection to work my way out of it. Collecting data in a spreadsheet, logging tightly, and remembering what it was like back when I first started and had faith in the process made all the difference this time.

    For those using Libra**, I'd recommend going into the "Advanced Preferences", and messing around with the Smoothing Days and Forecast Days. You will get noticeably different trend lines and projections depending on those settings. By playing with them, you may get an idea whether different settings might work better for you in your current stage of weight management, even if you don't understand the underlying math; at the very least, you'll begin to understand that this is a statistical tool, not a crystal ball.

    Don't be afraid to change it, it doesn't affect your stored data, it just affects how the apps calculates values and draws lines: After playtime, you can put the settings back to the defaults, if that's best for you.

    These days, in a form of maintenance where I eat very unevenly, I'm mostly using smoothing = 30, forecast = 60. I used the default 7 & 7 all the way through weight loss.

    ** I assume you can do similar experiments with other weight trending apps, but I don't know the specific options and settings for others.

    Really didn't know this. I will check it out.
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