Beeminder Forum

Beeminding weightloss without relying on self-reporting?

Recently tried beeminding calories/day however after the first couple of derailments I could not bring myself to accurately enter the calories I ate, knowing it’d charge me(the same would go for the preset weightless goal) Shelved the goal and now I’m back to the drawing board really.
I’m sure there’d be a way to do this but I am yet to figure out how. I obviously can’t exactly have a robot detect every bit of food I eat and there’s nobody I can use within my household as an accountability partner.
Current ideas are:
-Getting a fitbit to track steps and heart rate to trying to out excercise a bad diet (not ideal but somewhat possible)
-Setting up a gym boundary box for when they open up again and making sure I enter it for X amounts of time per week.
These are more about excercise than eating but I really cannot think of much else, any ideas?
Maybe beeminder isn’t the sort of thing for this if I can’t trust myself to self report?

2 Likes

I just beemind my weight and fast for the day if I can’t get my weight on track by breakfast. Super simple, but pretty hardcore, so I’d totally understand if you didn’t want to do that. I think @dreev does something similar.

1 Like

I like the idea of tracking adjacent goals, but if you know you’re going to weasel if you have manual entry it’ll be trickier.

If you do want to track calories, could you try splitting up the new goal from any difficulty? Set up a calories goal where you need to eat fewer than twice your normal calorie count? Put something on your calendar for a week or two from now to make it more difficult? This has worked for me.

3 Likes

I know there are scales that automatically upload your weight (I think withings sell them?).

I think not weaseling is pretty core to beeminder, and if you lose that you’ve lost the usefulness of it? If you’re struggling with this particular goal and not others, you risk building a habit of weaseling. So, maybe you should drop this goal for now, until you build up your habit / commitment to that meta-goal of not weaseling?

Finally, here are some weight-loss/maintenance tricks that helped me (and still do) without needing to count calories Article about this new trend of weight-loss wagering and what a scam it is (context for that).

You should go ahead and start that exercise habit and feel great about it. Come back here and tell us you did it!

I think planning to lose weight that way is setting yourself up to fail at weight loss (but not at getting healthier/fitter) unless you’re Lance Armstrong. The reason for that is pretty much basic physics: energy used in any kind of mechanical work is force times distance (plus a bit more used up because of your body’s not-perfect efficiency) – and when you do the sums you see it just takes a lot of extra exercise to burn up a little bit of extra food. That’s a hell of a lot more solid than all the full-of-caveats biological/medical evidence about this sort of thing, so you can’t beg out of it :wink:

The flip side of that is a small change in what you eat will cause you to keep losing weight – do yourself a favour and read John Walker’s free online book (The hacker’s diet). While you’re building up your non-weaseling meta-habit strength again, he also has a great though old-looking web tool for just tracking weight – as far as IT goes (as opposed to habits, mental tricks, etc.), a tool like that has been enough for me on its own: https://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/online/hdo.html (or alternatively I believe you can set goal rate to zero in beeminder to accomplish the same thing?)

That’s an interesting way of doing it but generally my diet derails come at the tail end of the day. I generally am fine for brekky and lunch but as soon as my energy and attention wane I will find my way into the family cupboard looking for bad snacks and after that I get a bit defeatist about it. I think creating a habit of intermittent fasting would be the thing to do here though.

1 Like

Honestly thinking about it now I really should have eased myself into it in the first place, I think I got way too excited in the idea of using beeminder to force myself to do anything that I didn’t really consider how suddenly restricting my eating after months of not would result in more than a bit of friction. Def something I will take on in my next attempt.

2 Likes

You can track number of calories your burn per day with a smartwatch. It uploads automatically, but it won’t keep you from eating bad foods or more than you should. However, if you start to see that you’re eating more, you’d just increase the calorie burning goal to meet the amount you’re taking in regularly. Additionally, there are a ton of scales that sync to the apps. They’re as cheap as $20 on amazon. You just gotta see which is compatible with the app you’re using. Therefore, both the weight tracking and the calorie burning are automatically synced and you can’t weasel around it if you’re not following it.

Good luck!

1 Like

Might look into this so it’s harder to weasel, seems like there’s a lot of scales for this sort of thing, thank you.

Yeah the goal has been archived for now, it was probably because I made my stakes so high and forgot that I’m working with USD not aud which roughly works out to be 30-40% more. I will certainly work on doing this, it seems a shame to give up beeminder when it offers so much. I think I will just keep the amounts very low and realistic.

Ahhh I know going in that it won’t be speedy weightloss nor efficient but if everything else fails once more than it’s easier for me to do more of something than it is to subtract something and force myself not to do it. I’m honestly hoping to avoid it because I despise running over weight lifting but if I must, I must.
Getting a fitness watch as well will let me put it in beeminder and keep me accountable in a way that would be more effort to weasel out of. Combining it with a wifi scale that you and @calistizo619 have mentioned is a hell of an idea, thank you.

I’ll have a geeze at both the Hacker’s Diet book and the tips you linked, tyvm.

Just thought to add: perhaps “obvious” (scare quotes because for me that often means things I know but don’t always put into practice!) – but I think a very important part of anything like this is not any fixed set of rules or anything like it, but observing and adapting creatively to your own behaviour: coming with new rules / tricks / habits to support your goal as you go along.

1 Like

People don’t like when I say this kind of thing - but based on the evidence, planning to lose weight in general is setting yourself up to fail at weight loss. I really think people should be focusing on what they can control, not something like weight that fluctuates fairly randomly and that also has a “set point” that your body tries to maintain.

I think most people would be better off beeminding exercise and junk food and not worrying about their weight - let your body take care of that part. Just try to become healthier and fitter and then your weight doesn’t matter. Hell, if you’re exercising properly you’ll be gaining weight in the form of muscle anyway.

It’s a general principle that you should beemind inputs, not outputs - beemind what you can control, not what you can’t - but everyone wants to ignore that when it comes to weight because of social conditioning.

And I find the idea of punishing yourself or starving yourself when your weight gets over a certain amount to be really, really disturbing, and a little too close to eating disorders for my taste.

2 Likes

Meh. Intermittent fasting isn’t starving yourself. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

(Do keep your goal to less than 2 pounds a week, though. That holds regardless of how you’re trying to lose.)

But, yeah, I totally agree that everyone is different and you need to find out what works for you.

1 Like

I’m not talking about intermittent fasting (which is itself somewhat controversial and dubious). In intermittent fasting, you commit ahead of time to eat only during certain hours, regardless of what your weight is.

That’s very different than deciding whether or not to eat based on your weight, where you keep fasting and weighing yourself until you’re skinny enough to eat, which strikes me as disordered eating behavior.

I definitely agree that if you have any tendency to eating disorders it’s not the strategy for you. Also, it’s important that you’re using a healthy target weight and weight loss rate, as it would be for any method.

But I really don’t have a burden to convince anyone to do what I’m doing.

2 Likes

Hmmm that is still a fair point, I think the E-scales can measure bf% but it’d probably be better for now to track inputs.

The science about diet/nutrition is very sketchy indeed: results often seem contradictory, experts often don’t seem to agree on pretty basic issues, and the same debates on those issues rumble on for decades. I’m certainly no expert, but my own diet of science/medicine news over decades (which is to say, I don’t have citations :wink: ) says that you’re contradicting here perhaps the one result in the field that seems most stable and well-supported: being overweight is bad for your health.

The other stuff you were saying (basically, in my worldview: other ways of losing weight work better) is much more defensible I think – I currently disagree, but maybe I’m wrong.

“Starving”: I think this is hyperbolic. I believe you’re referring here to eating less the more overweight you are: I do this, and I have not starved, I’m still here. Certainly some people suffer from eating disorders that involve losing too much weight, and other people lose and then maintain a lower weight without suffering from eating disorders.

2 Likes

Right. To be a bit more transparent, while I’ve made some efforts to control my weight for a while now, one reason that I’ve been working to lose weight this time is that my doctor recommended I do so.

1 Like

I’m not sure this is true about being slightly overweight, though it is true that being significantly overweight or obese is correlated with negative health outcomes.

What I’m saying is that the vast majority of weight loss attempts don’t work. They don’t last, and they result in people regaining the weight they lost, and then some.

So the problem is that we don’t know how to achieve successful weight loss in a safe and stable way.

No, I was referring to the way that several people mentioned they beeminded weight, which was to totally fast if they were too fat until they were skinny enough to allow themselves to eat again. They have a target weight and if they’re above that weight they simply don’t eat. At all. Until they get under that weight.

I’m sorry, and I know this will offend and upset some people, and in a way it contradicts the pragmatic “do whatever works for you and helps you reach your goals” spirit of this forum - but I really think that’s extremely unhealthy and disordered eating behavior that has a significant risk of leading to both physical and psychological problems.

I think there may be a slight misunderstanding. :wink: I’ve never had to fast more than one day at a time, usually just one day in a week. If I didn’t manage to lose the weight in one day of fasting, I would derail and get a week of buffer. And whenever that happens I’ll also be reducing my target rate to ensure that one day is always enough.

Also, when I reach my target weight I plan to flatten out the road and not archive the goal, so I expect my losses will indeed be stable.

1 Like

Let’s find out how!

Only 20% joking there. I do believe of course that many, but not most people really do have huge problems with weight and are scaling high physiological and psychological walls of appetite, motivation, unhappiness, fear, etc. if they have any success at all (and metabolism to some extent, but physics suggests this can’t be insuperable on its own). But my theory is that the rest of us fail often because we didn’t know how to change our habits, and that even those with the highest barriers to climb might be helped to some degree in the same way.

I haven’t failed often at this particular task (except day to day: it is a fairly constant low-level battle), but boy, have I failed in other tasks at motivating myself. It’s only in the past few years that I feel like I’ve started to get a grip on that. What’s changed is ideas I’ve got from other people. I think you’re totally on board with that for everything except body weight. I’m with you as far as the evidence about body weight goes, but scientific results are never based on evidence.

If I’d not read the hacker’s diet, I suspect I’d have failed at weight loss too.

2 Likes