Crail from somewhere outside Cellardyke, Fife, Scotland
@tdhopper posted his self-measurements of weight loss
a few months back. I recently decided also that I wanted to lose fat-weight—the infamous “I could stand to be a few kilos lighter”—and I think I came up with a more productive way of thinking about my progress: I’m not going to look at the scale at all. I’m just going to count calorie estimates from the treadmill estimator or use online calculators for how much is burned by running / swimming — and calories burned is the only thing I will use: no attempts at eating less.
Also, instead of thinking in terms of weight I’m going to think in terms of volume. Here are some pictures of people holding 5 pounds of fat (2¼ kilos):
As you can see this is a large fraction of a person’s flesh, if their BMI is in the healthy range.
I’m not so fat that I have tens of litres of fat making up my body. Rather if I look at myself and visually “remove 2 litres” that “looks” like it would be very substantial—such a huge volume that, of course it would take weeks of diligent exercise!
But as we know from Mr Hopper’s posts (or I know it from my own experience of weighing myself), the noise is louder than the signal.
The magnitude of daily variation swamps the magnitude of “fundamental” progress.
The goal of counting kcal burned and thinking in terms of volume is to make both the goals and the progress feel more visceral. Everybody knows how to lose weight, the problem is just that one doesn’t do it. Other than simply increasing self-discipline or increasing the mental energy I put towards this goal (neither of which I want to do).
Here’s my mathematical model of why this is hard in the first place:
timepoints <- 1:1e2 + rnorm(1e2,sd=1)
daily.variation <- 1e5 * sin( runif(1,min=-pi/2,max=pi/2) + timepoints)
other.variation <- 1e4 * sin( runif(1,min=-pi/2,max=pi/2) + timepoints)
B<-rnorm(1,mean=100,sd=50); trend<- −B*timepoints
B. Is it even positive? (i.e. am I actually losing weight?) In R I just made the variable so I could print(B) but the point is to model why it’s hard to do this from my real data, which is the sum
data <- daily.variation + other.variation - B*timepoints
So my overall system is to do “chunks” of 7000 kcal = 1 kilo of fat or 3500 kcal =1 pound of fat. I can stand to do 500–700 kcal per cardio session—about an hour. (I also do an extra +1 kcal for every minute it took me to penalise for low speed: exercise crowds out normal metabolism.) Then it becomes a “long count” up to 3500 or up to 7000. That means 5 cardio sessions (of 770 kcal each) to get up to 1 pound of fat-loss, 7 wimped-out cardio sessions (of 550 kcal each) to reach a pound, and so on. It’s easy enough to “count to 5”. This system makes each one of the 5 be significantly large at the order of magnitude appropriate to convert kcal of exercise to litres of body volume.
it is not for kings to drink wine,
not for rulers to crave beer,
lest they drink and forget what has been decreed,
and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
Let beer be for those who are perishing,
wine for those who are in anguish!
Let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.
andrewmaclean says the “Spotify Model”—which we could also call the "newspaper model"—where "consumers" get something they want for free, but are really the product which media outlets are selling to advertisers—is “inevitable”.
Why would this be a more logical way for the world to run than just paying for movies, music, television, journalism, comics, and T-shirts? I’m going to spitball together a slapdash explanation and ask if you can improve on it. Here’s my model:
advertisers + readers) than one? But not if by selling the newspaper for $0 or negative, you can double, triple, dectuple the circulation. If you can stuff the ads down people’s throats by slashing the price or equivalently finding people and putting it in their hands, then you can double, triple, dectuple the advertising revenue (so long as the car dealerships are willing to keep paying for more exposure, even if it’s crappier exposure).
That’s my half-baked story. Care to critique or improve on it?