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Long-term Weight Control

Last year at this time I weighed 185 pounds. At my height of 6 feet, that made my BMI 25.1, just high enough to qualify for “Overweight”. I tried calorie counting for a few months and lost 10 pounds, but the effort and tedium of calorie counting — along with a plateau in weight loss — resulted in me being discouraged, counting calories only intermittently, and eventually regaining five pounds.

This was the third time in my life I’d lost and eventually regained weight, so I decided it was time to understand the problem better and find a solution that worked for me. Some of the questions I had were:

  • Is calorie counting a good way to lose weight?
  • Is it possible to keep weight off, or are we all just destined to gain it back eventually?
  • If so, how can I avoid regaining weight?

My working hypothesis is that if I can make calorie counting very simple, I’ll stick with it. Maybe if the level of effort is low enough I’ll keep going even when my focus is on family or work instead of losing weight, even when I’m tried or under stress, even when I feel discouraged by a plateau, and even after I feel like I’ve lost enough weight.

The results of this project are summarized in this slide deck, Long Term Weight Control, which was presented at the NYC Quantified Self Meetup. I gave that presentation while I was executing my calorie tracking strategy on a spreadsheet. I have since implemented the strategy in an iPhone App called Pertinacity which I use every day.

I am now 167 pounds with a BMI of 22.6 which puts me in the “Normal” BMI category.

I’ll expand on the presentation and the strategy in future blog posts. Please download the app and take a look at the instructions.