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Training Weight Loss: Tracking Body Weight

2011-04-14 updated 2012-11-20 - Send Feedback
Related: body fat, metabolism, training

Legal disclaimer: Since we are not doctors, never follow anything based on health-related topics on this or related sites without first consulting with your doctor or other trusted health professional.

In early 2011 I set myself a goal of losing at least one pound of body fat per week. I exceeded that goal in 2011: 26+ pounds of body fat gone in 130 days.

I feel better, I’m much faster up the hills, and my heart rate for the same level of exertion is down by about 10 beats. I expect it to drop another 5-8 beats within 2 months.

Graph your weight daily

Graph your weight daily so you can see the trend.

A daily graph with a trendline offers a big psychological boost and positive feedback loop when the trend is down, and if the trend moves up, it can be caught and corrected before more than a week passes. And once a trend is established, perspective is gained on the natural variations day-to-day.

Weigh yourself every morning after bodily functions and before consuming anything, for consistency in numbers. Even so, normal variations can be as high as 3-4 pounds (water weight and bulk from diet of certain kinds). Don’t let these discourage you—that’s what daily weigh-in and trendline show you! No one gains more than 1/4 pound or so of body fat per day*; anything else is water or food in the intestinal tract.

I use a scale good to 0.1 pound, but any scale consistent to 1/4 pound will do ( consistent readings for the same weight is what matters).

* It is possible to burn off a pound of body fat in one day in a double century. Just don’t east it back the next 3-4 days; your body will want you to!

Larger graph.

Body weight from Dec 31, 2010 onwards, training for the Everest Challenge

Weigh every day in the morning

Weigh yourself every morning after a visit to the bathroom so you can graph the trend (more on that below). Get a scale that is consistent, and provides at least 1/4 pound accuracy.

The difference is large relative to even aggressive weight loss over several weeks, so that tracking body weight without accounting for this difference is absurd.

Most of the fluid loss comes from excreting urine, but some of it is dehydration overnight, so hydrating immediately in the morning is essential.

Weight (pounds) drops by an average of 4 pounds overnight for 170-180 pound male

Same data, presented as bedtime weight (blue) and morning weight (red). We are always dehydrated in the morning from urine and sweat and respiration, so drinking at least a full liter of water within the first two hours of the days is strongly advised.

Weight (pounds) drops by an average of 4 pounds overnight for 170-180 pound male
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