An attempt at more-or-less creatively hacking diets

You know it’s time to diet when you push away from the table and the table moves.
«The Cockle Bur»

Since about 23 days ago, I’m trying to influence my weight. Never been on a diet, but after seeing how fat I’ve become, it was time for a change. And frankly, it’s … interesting. Never thought about it, but combining ideas from gamification, statistics, and a few other things can make weight modification fun. 🙂

So far, the success it rather limited, but it’s given me some fun data. For example, I’m currently well able to predict my weight loss, thanks to a simple linear regression model (red line):

Fun how well predication works. But then again, the drop is rather constant. Plus, each data point is the mean of measuring weight in the morning and evening (which sometimes deviate hugely — after all, it’s warm and I drink a lot of water). And yeah, the graphic fucks with you — the y-axis starts with 75 kg (not even my target weight). This is one of those cases in which a manipulated y-axis is actually helpful. Otherwise, I would have quit after a few days.

It’s wont go this way forever, I have a clear goal when I stop, but seeing the change was really important for my self-efficacy. I can actually actively influence my weight — at least for a while. Same with noticing just how strongly the weight measurement can vary — mostly depending on water intake. Two measurements per day help, but more would likely be better (more reliable).

Also playing around with Apple’s Numbers is fun. I did create a nice dashboard with some basic information:

Dashboard in Apple Numbers — showing the kcal balance and a few other pieces of information.

Of course, I did make some assumptions that are likely wrong, and some values will be off (most packaging does not mention the amount of fiber). I’m no nutritionist and it shows. This playing with my body is actually a just-for-fun project (it’s for science, dammit ;-)).

And it’s also cool. The Numbers file includes:

  • pages for my favorite food and drinks (let’s be honest, you can reduce the usual mile-long tables of foods to a hundred or so you usually eat), allowing me to quickly enter the amount of food I have eaten (using a kitchen scale, because weight estimation is fricking difficult to do); I can also enter the amount of kcals I have left for the day and it shows me how much I can eat of which food,
  • a page for different workouts on which I simply select the amount/time I did the specific workout (they came with kcal values you lose when doing them, but whether they’re correct is anyone’s guess, esp. considering the way I do them),
  • a food log (some copy-paste involved here),
  • a weight log (incl. estimations),
  • a page with tips, and
  • huge tables of food and drinks with kcal and nutrition values (found online).

So yeah, it’s fun. And thinking about it — I do think I have a nice idea for a gamified version. But first I’ll try out whether I can

  1. actually achieve my goal
  2. actually hold my target weight (within tolerance) for a few months

Going to be a few interesting months.

(And after three weeks — not really starving (I think). I’ve adapted to smaller portions and take the time to eat really well. It’s funny how you can suddenly enjoy food much, much more. You pick up an apple and it smells absolutely amazing. Never noticed this stuff before.)

Categories: General Tips, Improving your Creativity, Inspiration, Other Programs, People, Self-Improvement, Slightly Off-Topic Postings, Something to Think About, Tools

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