Losing Weight in the Digital Age

A tape measure. Deutsch: Massband

I’ve been trying to lose about half a stone (say 3kg) in weight since last summer. Nothing I’ve done seems to have made much difference. I’d almost started to agree with what people told me –  that as a woman approaching middle age, I’ll get fatter. But I’m a) stubborn and b) not really prepared to have something as personal as my weight apparently determined by the number of years I’ve been on the planet. Biology says I can lose weight no matter how old I am. No amount (or lack) of hormones is going to stop you burning fat if you don’t eat enough.

Things took a big step forward at the beginning of the year, when I discovered there were scales that could measure your weight to the nearest 100 grammes. What a revelation! In March I bought a set, and since the beginning of April I’ve been weighing myself daily.

It’s all very interesting. First of all, I am losing weight (almost 2kg in three weeks). It might not sound like very much, but given that I’ve only been trying to lose 3kg, for me, it’s huge progress. Second, if I didn’t have the scales I wouldn’t know it was happening. Until now, the only way I’ve been able to measure myself is with a tape measure, and that doesn’t show any change. I guess I’m not measuring the right bits! I think this is the main reason my previous efforts haven’t worked. It looks like, in fact, I was losing weight, I just didn’t have a sensitive enough device to measure it.

Third, and most surprising, the weight loss isn’t regular.  Me being scientifically-minded I know that 1kg in weight = 3,500 calories. So if I undereat by 500 calories per day, I should lose 1kg per week – which equals almost 150 grammes per day – which is measurable by my scales. I was looking forward to seeing a regular 100 grammes drop off  each day. It hasn’t happened. What does happen is that I stick at the same weight for about three days, and then on the third day, lose 500 grammes overnight. One day I lost a full kilo overnight! All this despite maintaining the same, pretty strictly controlled diet  and doing regular exercise.

I’m very curious to know why this happens. The scientist in me says it doesn’t make sense.  Science says that x calories = y grammes of fat. Therefore, when you lack x amount of calories, your body burns y amount of fat.  It should be a linear relationship. But it isn’t. Even the wonderweb doesn’t seem to provide an explanation, although I’m far from being alone in experiencing the problem. Hmmm. Maybe I should ask the European Commission for half a million euros to set up a research project… 🙂


One thought on “Losing Weight in the Digital Age

  1. Overall, I’m not a big fan of scales. Sure, they have a place in the world of health and fitness and sure they can be a useful resource but far too often they become a source of anxiety, stress and frustration. Of course, weight is a relevant issue in the getting-fitter-healthier-and-sexier process but many (many, many) people have an unhealthy relationship with their scales. You might know such a person?

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