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Just Another Plateau and Weigh-In Thread

ncboiler89ncboiler89 Member Posts: 2,408 Member Member Posts: 2,408 Member
This post will require some participation. Are you physically able to raise your hand? If so play along.

Who is tired of all the threads about plateaus and asking for advice about how often to weigh – show of hands?

Alight. Almost everyone raised their hand. I know that not because I am looking through your windows, although with all the weight some of you have lost you are becoming more Peeping Tom worthy. I know because the forum is littered with them.

What I hope to address is how misinterpretation of our scale reading (body scales not food scales) can lead people to believe they are not losing weight.

I don’t know what a plateau is in the context of weight loss. I know what people think it is but if someone is eating at a deficit is it possible not to lose weight? I don’t really care to tell you the truth because I have yet to see this infamous “Plateau Monster” actually show itself for real in any of the threads I have seen.

This is not a post to try and convince people to weigh themselves everyday. I don’t care how often people weigh. What works for them works for them. Who am I to judge? For some there are downsides to doing it once per day and for some there are downsides to doing it once per week. I just hope to illustrate the importance of understanding the data before making a decision about the validity of your weight loss plan. This will hopefully rid the forum of any future plateau threads and “How Often Do You Weigh” threads. LOLOL….ya right.

So let’s get to it;
This person has weighed himself three times. Let see, by a raise of hands (participation please), how many people think this person has achieved this mythical plateau?

vlu1nh9wjxhr.png


Answer:
Those of you that raised your hand put it down. We don’t know. We have no idea over what time frame this data was recorded. So rule number one. How long as it been since you have shown a loss?

Well glad you asked. I have this next graph. I don’t like to weigh myself everyday because it freaks me out when I gain weight so I think if I weigh myself every couple of weeks, or once per week, it will get rid of the water retention type stuff. Again, show by a raise of hands who thinks this person has reached a plateau?

cedefg6roaoe.png


Answer:
Those of you that have raised your hand put it down. We don’t know. First, three weeks is not a long enough time frame and secondly we have only three data points.

How many times have we heard it? Weight loss is not linear!

But we end up with this type of thread;

“OMGOMGOMG it’s been three weeks and I haven’t lost a pound!! Help me! I am eating at a deficit and I have done my detoxes. I strong lift three times an day and run the equivalent of a marathon every week all the while tending to my six hyperactive kids! I know for a fact I am eating below deficit. I even waited two weeks between weigh-ins and still the same! Please oh please do help me!!”

This then inspires a long discussion about weighing your food and being diligent about logging (which I am all for and I think it is very important). There is discussion of weight loss not being linear and three weeks is not a plateau. This discussion is somewhat pointless however because biggest problem we have is that our data has very poor resolution. We have three data points and you know what they say about three data points….”LOL sample size”.

So let’s look at the same date range but fill in the missing days;

cwze26razv38.png


So, again, by a show of hand, have we reached a plateau?

Answer:
Clearly not. The plateau monster has evaded capture once more.

This is the exact same data presented in the other graphs but with just more data points – 19 more data points to be exact. I added a trend line - you know because when tracking weight loss it’s all about the trend - and I also added the equation for the trend line which is important. See the number right before the “x”? It says -0.1462. That means this person’s weight is trending lower by 0.1462 pounds per day. Per day! That is 1.02 pound per week with a goal being 1 pound per week (lolol…okay you got me. This is my weight data so it’s my goal). I am actually right on track!

So do you see how one person can post a freak out thread in the forum about not seeing a loss for three weeks and another person with the exact same scenario is tooling right along and is perfectly happy with how things are going?

To delve into this just a little bit further (sorry :( ), I have 118 data points for my weight. Because Excel allows a person to rule the world I asked myself the question; If I weighed myself only once per week how often would I show a gain and how often would I show a loss? So what I did was subtract two data points that were eight days apart (simulating weighing myself on the same day of the week once per week). I ended up with 111 data points. Eighty-six times I would have shown a loss, twenty times I would have shown a gain and five times it would have been the same as the previous week. About 22% of the time I would have been heartbroken and thus a plateau thread.

I am sorry of this is long winded but I just wanted to illustrate the fluctuations in weight loss and how they can lead people to post needless threads and maybe make unneeded changes to their plan. Understand your data the power of it. If you think of weight loss as a game, weighing yourself everyday is like a baseball game. If you get beat you are right back into the game the next day with a chance to win. However you experience losing more often. If you weigh yourself once per week and you get beat you have to brood for a week before getting a chance to win again. But there are fewer lost games. They each have their advantage.

In before there is a plateau thread or a weigh-in thread before this tl;dr post makes it to the second page.
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Replies

  • Liftng4LisLiftng4Lis Member Posts: 15,151 Member Member Posts: 15,151 Member
    TL;DR, sorry....snort...Okay, I'm not. Plateaus don't exist, eating too much does :smiley:
  • wolfsbaynewolfsbayne Member Posts: 3,117 Member Member Posts: 3,117 Member
  • ndj1979ndj1979 Member Posts: 29,148 Member Member Posts: 29,148 Member
    cliffs???????????? For the love of god, cliffs????
  • determined_14determined_14 Member Posts: 258 Member Member Posts: 258 Member
    ndj1979 wrote: »
    cliffs???????????? For the love of god, cliffs????
    I read the whole thing and it's good stuff. But this made me giggle. :D
  • ncboiler89ncboiler89 Member Posts: 2,408 Member Member Posts: 2,408 Member
    ndj1979 wrote: »
    cliffs???????????? For the love of god, cliffs????
    I read the whole thing and it's good stuff. But this made me giggle. :D

    It's better suited for bathroom tablet reading.
  • hotnumberhotnumber Member Posts: 222 Member Member Posts: 222 Member
    This was a great discussion, love the sense of humour
  • aliaslockealiaslocke Member Posts: 19 Member Member Posts: 19 Member


    It's better suited for bathroom tablet reading.[/quote]

    I was in the bathroom while reading
  • macgurlnetmacgurlnet Member Posts: 1,946 Member Member Posts: 1,946 Member
    I'm gonna be serious for a sec and say this is exactly why I weigh daily - because I like the data points :))))

    Such a pity there's no search function here so new people could easily find this information....

    ~Lyssa
  • doylejohnpaul787doylejohnpaul787 Member Posts: 30 Member Member Posts: 30 Member
    I only started using MFP 3 weeks ago, so what I am seeing may just be the initial phase. This is what my graph looks like so far:
    emr2t6iyw3bv.png

    My weight loss up to now is surprisingly linear.

    I set my goals using the calculator when I joined and said I wanted to lose 1 kg/week. I was surprised when I started losing 2 kg a week. If it continues like this, I am going to hit my goal weight by the end of the month. I have thought about reducing the deficit, but then I keep expecting it to slow down to the predicted 1 kg/week anyway. If it doesn't slow down before I hit 81 kg, I'm going to re-evaluate my goals and reduce the deficit.

    Note: the daily weighing only started on April 20 when I bought a new, more accurate scales.
  • ncboiler89ncboiler89 Member Posts: 2,408 Member Member Posts: 2,408 Member
    macgurlnet wrote: »
    I'm gonna be serious for a sec and say this is exactly why I weigh daily - because I like the data points :))))

    Such a pity there's no search function here so new people could easily find this information....

    ~Lyssa

    Feel free to link them to it. It's mostly directed towards new people top hopefully provide a little education.
  • ahoy_m8ahoy_m8 Member Posts: 2,503 Member Member Posts: 2,503 Member
    So... don't eat sugar?

    You're good.
  • kelllistarkelllistar Member Posts: 2 Member Member Posts: 2 Member
  • AllelitoAllelito Member Posts: 179 Member Member Posts: 179 Member
    My cycle at least keeps my graph very interesting.
    JFyS4SK.png

    Still waiting for that special day of the month where my scale will finally drop - hype! :joy:
    I think I'd be confused as heck if I just weighed in every now and then..

    (Edited, uploaded an old graph, latest one now :D )
    edited May 2015
  • MonsoonStormMonsoonStorm Member Posts: 371 Member Member Posts: 371 Member
    I love this thread.

    As someone who weighs daily and just likes data, it provides me with a certain sense of smugness whilst satisfying my geeky side.

    Where's the upvote button...

    Now if only MFP would fix their withings syncing issues...
    edited May 2015
  • MonsoonStormMonsoonStorm Member Posts: 371 Member Member Posts: 371 Member
    Actually this thread needs stickied... how do we achieve that?
  • ncboiler89ncboiler89 Member Posts: 2,408 Member Member Posts: 2,408 Member
    Actually this thread needs stickied... how do we achieve that?

    Thanks for reading! There is a 'nominate posts for a sticky' sticky.
  • I_Will_End_YouI_Will_End_You Member Posts: 4,397 Member Member Posts: 4,397 Member
    Nice thread. I used to weigh everyday and graph it in Excel. Then the batteries on my scale died. And apparently it's really hard to buy batteries and replace them. One of these days...

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