Weight loss

This is some correlations that I've observed with regards to weight loss, however, I only have one data point (mine), so the causality is uncertain. Maybe you'll find it useful, if not, well, no harm done.

Why

About 2010/2011 I was 122.5 kg, and was likely riding an express train towards early death. I did not exercise, I ate way to much, and had in general an unhealthy lifestyle. Around that time, my son and I visited Thomas Land, as in "Thomas the Tank Engine" Land, in Birmingham. One night in the hotel I felt chest pain, likely just a muscle that was acting up, but it made me think. I was in a foreign country, alone with my son, and if I'd had a fatal heart attack that night, he would have woken up with a dead dad on the floor, and being 5 years old, would not know what to do. It was time to reduce the probability of occurrence.

First How - Exercise

I began exercising, first Taekwon-do (after a 10 year break), then running, then running and bouldering, I tried to eat healthier, and it did help a bit. 5 years flew by, and the weight dropped to 110 kg.

I was exercising a few times a week, but that was not sufficient to keep reducing the weight. Then, in May 2018, my exercise regime changed. Instead of deciding what days during a week I was going to exercise, it became what days do I rest. What's really weird, is that after a while, it became easy to exercise, even a few days without any exercise I felt restless, and just had to do something.

A few tips if your just starting out exercising:

Second How - Nutrition

We all know the adage "calories in versus calories out" for weight loss. It's probably a bit more complicated than that, but that does not make it false.

In the old days, I was not any good at the "calories in" part, I ate everything. Also, pretty much every Friday and Saturday was a binge fest (chocolate and chips). I started noticing, however, that if I binged on a Friday, I felt like crap on Saturday, so on 2017-01-26 I stopped eating candy, chocolate and chips. The effect was pretty immediate. Not only did it help on the weight, but I had more energy. Over the last years I've tried dropping different foods (bread, pasta, meat) to the point where at one point I was basically living on whole greens, nuts, eggs, sometimes fish.

I lived on that strict diet from 2019-11-14 to 2020-05-26, but it got too restrictive, and boring. These days I'm back to eating most things. I also started eating candy again, which shows on the fat weight.

Third how - Consistency

The only way to make lasting changes to the weight, is to make lasting changes to the calorie intake, and calorie expenditure. So don't expect to change your weight quickly, you have to commit for the long run.

Results

I'm not done yet, but it would be fun to see if I can actually reach a normal BMI. For me that would be 84 kg, which would be 38.5 kg down from max. 84 kg seems pretty far away still, but not impossible.

Below you can see my fat weight over the last six years. The blue curve is an estimate of the fat weight without the seasonal variation (Christmas is really an enemy of weight control).

Over the last two years the fat weight has increased again, likely due to a combination of corona, injury, and a period of high stress, which, I believe has reduced my ability to stick to a reduced calorie intake. In July 2021 I took a ground fall while top-rope soloing, which by 2022-09 still is not fully healed, so long runs are a challenge. In August 2021 I started teaching at univerisity and was working most evenings and most weekends. I've had high stress periods before, but they affected my emotional control. In 2021 I experienced for the first time that the increased stress affected my ability to consume food. I had to drop gluten, everything with milk, and could not touch alcohol. I've been without high stress since June 2022, and am now able to consume milk and alcohol without the body falling apart, but I do still have to ensure that I get enough rest, and the energy levels decline quickly through a work week.

It's ironic that I preach to my employees that "It's important to find a work life balance, because that's when the brain works best", and I'm not the best to follow my own preaching.

Lately I've been focusing on rest, exercise and enough sleep, Let's see if the fat weight drops again.

Weight

PS1: It ain't a solo adventure

I've been motivated by different things over the last years, here's a few people that have really helped me out.

PS2: Programming

I love programming, every time I go on holiday, then after a few days rest, I end up programming something. In my health repo you can find the code to parse the Fitbit Aria data.