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Weight and size are stupid - the funcrunch files


Feb. 27th, 2009 08:30 am Weight and size are stupid

Today I stood on the scale, afraid of what it would say as I spent all day yesterday lounging around, eating too much fat and sugar. The scale read 134 1/2, my lowest weight in nine years. I was momentarily excited, then reminded myself that daily weighing is stupid. The scale could easily read two pounds higher tomorrow, depending on my amount of dehydration. And there's that whole "muscle weighs more than fat" thing, and with the running I'm doing I think I'm definitely building some muscle.

Fuck it, daily weighing is stupid. Weekly weighing isn't much better. How can I force myself to stop stepping on that damn scale?

A related rant: women's clothing sizes. Last night I pulled all of the size 14 and 16 (and one size 18) pants and shorts out of my closet. Remaining are sizes 8, 10, and 12. I have a size 8 pair of jean shorts from Old Navy which fits snugly, a size 10 pair of Lee jeans which fits very loosely, and a size 12 pair of Gloria Vanderbilt jeans which fits perfectly in the waist but is very snug around the thighs. WTF. Why can't we have measurements that actually mean something, like men's clothes? I'd rather just go naked...

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From:plymouth
Date:February 27th, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC)
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This is part of the reason I started wearing men's slacks. There's less guesswork involved. Oh and they also list the inseam measurement. Very convenient. I'm sure women's pants must come in different lengths but I'm not even sure how you tell.
From:funcrunch
Date:February 27th, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC)
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Do you find that men's slacks fit well though? I mean, we gals have hips...

As far as length, I have to wear "petite" or "short" length pants or they're too long. I'm 5'4" which is right on the borderline of what clothing manufacturers seem to consider "petite".
From:mactavish
Date:February 27th, 2009 05:10 pm (UTC)
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Men's pants fit me years ago, at the same weight I am now, but as my curves have shifted, they don't. My butt and hips demand pants cut to them.
From:plymouth
Date:February 27th, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC)
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I find men's pants often fit me better, which is a little odd since I do have hips. They require belts. But I like belts :)
From:inflectionpoint
Date:March 1st, 2009 04:00 pm (UTC)
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Yes! I adore belts.

Especially rhinestone studded rockstar belts with baggy jeans! I like to do the contrast!
From:vvvexation
Date:February 28th, 2009 04:55 am (UTC)
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I find that men's slacks fit me just fine, although it's true I like a little more room in my trousers than, say, women's jeans provide.

Edit: And that's without belts.

Edited at 2009-02-28 04:58 am (UTC)
From:elgecko
Date:February 28th, 2009 12:52 am (UTC)
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Comically, this is exactly why I say I wear girl jeans. I don't know what I'm doing right but I know solidly that if I buy any jeans anywhere that say Size 12 Short Misses, I will get somethign that fits perfectly.
From:mactavish
Date:February 27th, 2009 05:09 pm (UTC)
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My weight varies so much with my hormonal cycle that if I weigh less often than once a month, I can't trust it. (And beyond that: If I weigh myself too often, what I weigh becomes more important than my mental/emotional health about my body and food.)

I do like to keep tabs on it because if I gain weight, I'm adding force on arthritic knees and feet, so if it goes up, I start looking at what/how I'm eating and exercising, but my brain goes a bit nuts if I fuss. We keep our scale in the bathroom closet, so we have to pull it out to use it.
From:maestrodog
Date:February 27th, 2009 05:10 pm (UTC)
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Men's clothes aren't much better...I like jeans a lot, but "slim fit" and sometimes "classic fit" are the only ones that actually fit me reasonably, even though I can no longer be called slim by any stretch. All the boot cuts, loose fits, relaxed fits, etc never fit me. Most jeans makers seem to think that most men have huge rolls of fat on the back of their thighs...I HATE jeans that are baggy back of the thighs, but 75% of the ones I try on always are. Shoes are even worse for me...I have a very difficult time finding casual-wear shoes that aren't constantly slipping off my heel with every step. Only one particular model of New Balance fits me ok with any consistency, and it actually took me over 2 hours to find my last decent pair of shoes when that New Balance wasn't available. And I never thought my feet were weird-shaped.

Go naked, hm? That's an appealing image, to be sure! :D
From:tennis_bear
Date:February 27th, 2009 06:16 pm (UTC)
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"I'd rather just go naked..."

Yes dear, we'd rather you just go naked as well. LOL!

Thank you for being so open and honest in your LJ about your exercise/eating issues. You have been one of my inspirations to recently take a look at how I can improve in those two areas. Congratulations on how far you've come, and good luck on the continuing journey.

PS: I totally agree with you on the scale thing, I haven't owned one in years...

From:funcrunch
Date:February 28th, 2009 05:46 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for the kudos, and I'm happy to hear I have been inspiring to you :-)
From:shoutingboy
Date:February 27th, 2009 06:45 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, the scale is a puzzler. Weekly weighings never made sense to me. Weight Watchers is big on them, ostensibly to keep you from being stressed by daily variations, but you have just as much variation if you weigh once a week--plus you get a whole week to stress about it...

But now that I'm in maintenance mode, I really don't want to go too long without weigh-ins. If I need to make corrections, I'd rather do it when I need to lose two pounds, instead of 10.

I've been pretty happy with the 'Hacker's Diet' approach--I weigh myself every day, but the daily numbers get plugged into a spreadsheet, and my 'official weight' is a weighted moving average of my weigh-ins. That gives me daily feedback, but keeps me from being too misled (or upset) by a daily spike or drop.
From:funcrunch
Date:February 28th, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, I read the Hacker's Diet last year. I'm going to try the daily weighing and moving average approach.
From:missk
Date:February 27th, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC)
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When I was trying to weight less often, I put the scale up on a high shelf that required a step stool to get it down. It was too much work to do it more often than once a month or so.

I find when it's just out, I get on it ALL THE TIME. (as in... get on when I get up, but get on again after my morning bathroom business, or again once I am naked before my shower. And again at the end of the day ...just to see the difference of day and night.) It's good if it's somewhere a little less convenient for me.
From:funcrunch
Date:February 28th, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC)
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We have a doctor's scale which can't easily be moved. I could put a towel over it or something, but boyziggy (who acquired the scale in the first place) wants to use it too... I'm just going to do the daily weighing as others have recommended, and try not to stress about fluctuations.
From:lrc
Date:February 27th, 2009 07:03 pm (UTC)
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As you know, in real life I do a lot of measurement of real world values for control systems. An awful lot applies. You have a noisy signal with periodic fluctuations (24 hour and ~28 day).

If you want me to go into the math I can, but the short answer is that the most accurate technique is to measure every day, but to only look at the average taken over a time period. The spreadsheet that I use has both boxcar (add the last week's worth of data and divide by 7) and IIR (.9 * yesterday's average + .1 * today's weight) averages. Either one will smooth out the data.

You're going to have a pound or two of "noise" in the signal whether you weigh every day, once a week, or once a month. Since the noise generally doesn't vary much beyond a certain envelope, your maximum and minimum values are a pretty reliable measure, especially if you look at both of them.

For what it's worth, mens clothes aren't much better than women's. A 36" waist pair of pants will generally fit around about a 39" waist. They generally assume a certain morphology, so if like me you have an 18" neck, they assume about a 54" waist. I've got narrow bones, wide lats and a thick neck. Off the rack shirts basically don't fit me.

When I was a kid I had to get pants with a waist about 2" too big so that my thighs would fit.

Rather than measuring weight and size, we could measure hottitude. Over the past few months your hottitude has gone from about 8.5 to about 11.3.
From:funcrunch
Date:February 27th, 2009 07:27 pm (UTC)
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Rather than measuring weight and size, we could measure hottitude. Over the past few months your hottitude has gone from about 8.5 to about 11.3.

*Blush*
From:teh_munchkin
Date:February 28th, 2009 09:59 am (UTC)
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I used to use this site. http://physicsdiet.com/
From:funcrunch
Date:February 28th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, I read the Hacker's Diet online. I think I am going to try daily weighing and plug the numbers into my CRON-O-Meter which will give me a 7-day moving average. Since I can't force myself to stop stepping on the scale, I might as well get useful information from it.
From:inflectionpoint
Date:March 1st, 2009 04:01 pm (UTC)
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Yes. This. Rolling Boxcar is a good way to follow the trend over time and helps wash away the noise.

Might be helpful for tracking in a more useful way.
From:cat_herder
Date:February 27th, 2009 07:25 pm (UTC)
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For years, I weighed myself daily. I noticed trends. If I trended upwards, I stopped recreational eating (cakes, junk food, etc.). If it continued, I reduced the higher calorie savories (butter, meat, whole milk). People alternately wonder how I managed to stay the same weight that I had in high school and whether I was "anorexic" or not. There's nothing wrong with daily weigh ins. The idea is to map trends. Also, you learn about your body. If you tend to get water weight once a month or after particular meals, its good to know about it.

I like men's trousers, too. I have very long inseams. I have a small waist and wide hips, so I just reduce that gap at the top of the trousers by wearing a belt. Somewhere out there is a web site to help you pick fittable jeans based on the apple versus pair figure shape. I wish I remembered what it was. Oh, and also, I get good service at the Gap. I have gone in a few times, explained what I needed, and gotten fitted well. It helps that the inseams are longer than they were a few years ago.
From:luffing
Date:February 27th, 2009 09:29 pm (UTC)
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Muscle doesn't actually weigh more than fat, per se. 5 pounds of muscle and 5 pounds of fat are still...5 pounds each. It's just that 5 pounds of fat is FLUFFIER than muscle, and takes up a larger amount of space on your body.

If you want to force yourself to stop stepping on the scale...ah, get rid of the scale? ;-)

I'm doing Weight Watchers, which forces me to step on the scale, but otherwise I'm just going by how well my favourite pair of pants fit.
From:funcrunch
Date:February 28th, 2009 05:49 pm (UTC)
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Good point on muscle vs fat - kind of like "which weighs more, a pound of bricks or a pound of feathers", eh? I guess what I was trying to express is if I gain a pound it's not necessarily a pound of fat, it could be a pound of muscle.

Don't want to get rid of the scale as boyziggy also uses it. But how well the pants fit does give a better idea.
From:inflectionpoint
Date:March 1st, 2009 04:03 pm (UTC)
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Yes. As I've built strength, I stayed at about the same weight, but got smaller and smaller. Muscle is denser. A pound of muscle takes up less room than a pound of fat.

I was delighted to see improvement in strength, balance, and co ordination, regardless of numbers.

Personally, when I lost the weight from all this digging and hauling, I got a bit worried - did I need to eat more, different, better? Losing too much is Scary.