12. Measuring weight once daily
Every so often a small change you make turns out to be revolutionary. This incremental one-minute tweak turned out to be my revolution. My body revolution.
A quick recap to catch you up: On this website I’ve been documenting My Year of Micro Experiments series. The idea is simple — to engage in very tiny experiments in living a week at a time, and then gauge the effect.
This is Week 12.
My plan is to tackle different areas over the course of a year:
Spirit and Vision (practices)
Business (my wife and I own an art gallery)
Relationships (family, friends, orbital)
These are the main themes.
Others are suggesting themselves as I progress through the year.
Because I’d packed on a little bloat, I wanted to start with Body. A change up in routines and eating habits to see what worked for me and what didn’t.
My reasoning is this: Everything would be easier to tackle if I were closer to my optimal body state.
Vitality would be mine! Energy would flow through me like light through fiber optics!
My wife Ann was undergoing her own lifestyle changes as I tackled mine.
(See previous posts for details if you’re curious about micro challenges I’ve taken on so far, the posts that start with a number. As in 1, 2, 7, 10 . . . Each number corresponds to a week’s experiment.)
One day in her soft off-hand so casual she almost didn’t bring it up way, Ann suggested I weigh myself once a day to track my progress. That way I would get daily feedback.
Normally I would have scoffed at that kind of metric. Yeah, I was savvy in the way of weight, how muscle weighs more than fat. I wasn’t going to fall for that!
Said the guy who never lifts weights….
But — when you’re in an experimental frame of mind — as I was now — knocking back 52 lifestyle experiments in a year — it sounded appealing.
Why not? I could quit after a week.
I started immediately. It was right around the same time I decided to quit sodas for a couple of months. So I was catching myself — presumably — at the apex of my weight bloat.
What a fun idea to track my descent into Better Fitter Me.
Damn, does weight ever fluctuate when you just pick a random time during the day to weigh yourself. It can vary by up to 2 pounds!
(I quickly discovered.)
So I googled what experts suggested, quickly coming to the realization serious weighers weigh themselves once each morning, after, um, evacuating . . . but before imbibing anything.
This way you are always measuring a similar state — your body’s fasting weight — just before your caffeine of choice and breakfast and the tumult of the day begin. Which is to say before oscillations from intakes and outputs begin in earnest.
I mentioned this to Ann. In her casual offhanded manner of total nonchalance, she said:
Yeah, that’s always when I weigh myself, first thing in the morning. It’s the only time you can get consistent results for comparison purposes.
Thank you for mentioning that up front.
I was off.
Within 2 or 3 days a little miracle occurred: I wanted to weigh myself!
Each morning’s number gave immediate feedback on the previous 24 hours. Longer exercise and remaining moderate in my intake sloughed off weight!
And girth too, I began to notice.
Between not eating at night and getting in respectable exercise each day, I could predict the steady drop as fat stores burned off.
That and being mostly vegetarian. Flexitarian to the cognoscenti — or flexiterranean as I like to call my Mediterranean diet spiked by the occasional hamburger when I regress.
I began weighing myself on October 31. Flash forward to the first of the new year. I’d dropped more than 10 pounds! Seemingly effortlessly.
Let me get exclamation point heavy again one last time:
Through the freaking holidays!
I think that says it all.
It’s now been four additional months since then. Though I’ve reverted to a more flexible eating regimen, the morning weigh in remains a constant.
Without doubt this morning weigh in has been a riotous success. The kind you want to bury in a time capsule and lodge deep in the earth for future earthlings to uncover.
This small tweak far eclipsed other micro experimental results I’d imagined would have fared better.
This is why I do it — when the unexpected yields results, it revs you up for more. More tweaks. More challenges. More nano experiments.
The occasional happy success gets you through the ineffectual times.
A secondary result, one championed by my sister Charlene, is that her morning weigh ins help keep her in her optimal weight range.
She’s got a 4-pound range, can you believe it?
When she gets to the lower end of that range she lays off the salads a little and leans into foodstuffs that will cling to her. When she hits the upper range, she throttles back on the comfort foods.
It turns out she’s been doing this weigh in thing for years.
It also turns out — as I blabbed about my enchantment with the process to all and sundry — that a few of my friends also weigh in daily. So many in my circle were way ahead of me.
Interestingly, my fittest compadres shared similar mindsets — they ate well compared to most Americans, they weighed themselves daily, they prioritized sleep (except my super-fit brother, the outlier, but he gets his power naps in), they considered sustained daily exercise a baseline for the good life.
Vitality habits flock together.