Beeminder Forum

menstruation and weight fluctuations


I don’t agree with this part. (To be clear, I’m only talking about myself now.) If I have to wake up and leave the house like a normal person but am not on my weight road, it mainly means skipping breakfast and probably lunch as well. Though I can typically get away with a salad or something if social convention demands I eat something. And definitely I stay hydrated regardless. When I get home, if I’m not on my road yet, that’s when I may have to do stairs and pushups or something before I can eat dinner.

Also, if I know I’ll want to have a normal lunch the next day then I’m reasonably well induced to not stuff myself at dinner the night before in hopes of waking up already on my road for the day.

Yeah, agreed. I’m lucky in this regard. I do know menstruators who are also lucky in this regard. I just don’t know how to characterize what’s typical. I think I’d amend my original conjecture to predict that the kind of fluid retention that would thwart this is if you steadily retained more and more fluid for multiple days in a row. (I also know unlucky menstruators for whom this is exactly the case.) If the increase is, rather, over a single 24-hour period then, according to my very much untested theory, even if the retention then persists for days you should be able to counteract it via normal intermittent fasting without doing anything unhealthy. Assuming intermittent fasting generally is healthy for you, another big assumption that I don’t have the expertise to back up at all.

I’d say the fact that that never occurred to me proves my point about robustness to Goodhart’s Law! :slight_smile: Like @adamwolf says, if such thoughts are even crossing your mind, derail the goal and reply to the legit check to say you need out for health reasons.

PS: Couple other relevant forum links:

And this one, which I see I’m repeating myself from here:

And here’s me originally articulating a slightly more extreme version of all this 3 years ago:

I also just resurrected that thread to comment on a point about heavy vs light food, which seems like one of the stupidest parts of my whole concept. In fact, now I’m reminded of this public Facebook post by Eliezer Yudkowsky:

I guess I’m making the claim that the Conservation of Mass Diet works as long as you adhere to it only via healthy actions. Which, yeah, I can see why this all sounds ridiculous to people. And yet it works for me. But I’m also appreciating that most of the debate is probably avoidable. I’m basically beeminding fasting and exercise as measured by my scale weight. You might as well beemind fasting and exercise directly, and just adjust the slopes of your yellow brick roads to keep your weight trending in the right direction, without having to worry about monthly fluid retention and such.


I chose the bulimia example because it’s more clear-cut and more obviously disordered. But you specifically described yourself as going through repeating cycles of binging and severe fasting. That sounds a lot like binge eating disorder or anorexia.

Now, you also said that you’ve done research and are careful to fast in a healthy way. My concern, though (not specifically about you, but in general for everyone who might try this) is that mental illness is difficult to self-regulate because it involves the regulator mechanism itself failing. With anorexics or people who suffer from body image disorder, they genuinely think they’re overweight and they really believe they are just being healthy when they starve themselves or over-exercise.

I am not saying this is you, but I do think that anyone who beeminds weight and doesn’t eat until beeminder says so is increasing the chance of an eating disorder sneaking up on them.

Pretty much by definition, someone falling into an eating disorder is not going to be able to say “I better stop trying to regulate my weight for health reasons.”

Well, I think anyone trying intermittent fasting should be under a doctor’s care and see an eating disorder specialist at least once in a while. Messing with your body’s natural inclinations for when to eat seems dangerous.

I can understand beeminding intermittent fasting and exercise, but why bring your weight into it at all?

I’m not sure I understand when you say you’re basically beeminding fasting and exercise as measured by your scale weight - I don’t think this is accurate. Beeminding fasting and exercise would look like having a goal for “don’t eat after noon” and “do cardio 3x a week” and “lift weights 3x a week,” whereas your goals use your current weight, random fluctuations and all, to determine when to fast and when to exercise. That’s the part that concerns me…


Okay. It just occurred to me that my intuition on this is probably wrong because I tend to frontload my hydration. The order of my life makes it significantly harder to drink enough past mid-afternoon. So personally there’s no way I could drink my normal amount of water in the morning and lose weight during the day, but that doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone. Probably also depends on individual fluid retention fluctuation throughout the day.


I also have no expertise, but I’m pretty sure it’s healthy for some (assuming we’re talking about less than a day) and not others.

It’s interesting to note that menstruating women don’t fast during Ramadan, and there are often practical reasons behind traditions.


I think the ideal solution here would be to have the brick road automatically jump up on the certain days you trend high, if you can figure out the average length of your cycle, and then automatically bring it back down after the bloating/whatever wears off. A more intelligent trend sensitive yellow brick road. This would require some predictive analytics :slight_smile:


For some, intermittent fasting is in alignment with their body’s natural inclination. For me, personally, I feel very good with a much-longer-than-average overnight fast (it’s a bit of a family trait, actually) and it’s trivial to extend that fast by a small percentage. (Personally, I can’t do the fasting until dinner that @dreev can, and I recall seeing some talk of research that suggests that, on average, women do better on slightly shorter fasts than men, but since I didn’t look at the actual studies there or get it from an expert, I’d want to dig into that more if I were curious. I just know that my body doesn’t feel good when I go past a certain number of hours.)

If anyone’s worried about whether something is healthy for them, I agree that talking to ones doctor is the right thing to do, but I would be reluctant to think of intermittent fasting as usually dangerous. Like someone’s already mentioned, there’s a fairly massive group of people who do it regularly during Ramadan. [Not that “lots of people do it” = safe, but just that we have a decent amount of information on best practices because of that.]


All that ^ said, I still prefer to commit to something else (like the time I start fasting, or adding new healthy recipes to ones repertoire, or whatever) for myself, even though I’m fast-friendly. (Also, I wouldn’t personally want that to be my maintenance plan over the long haul, and I wouldn’t want to try to use completely different techniques for one and then the other.)

So, while I totally think that there’s nothing wrong with Beeminding weight in that way, I also think the choice of methods for nutrition intake or body composition change are extremely personal things because of the vast number of differences in the combinations of preferences, metabolisms, tolerance for length of fasts, blood sugar needs, schedules, etc. etc. etc.

To support all kinds of methods (including those who want to Beemind weight loosely, but not using the same method), I’d love to see something that allows even more of that individuality than the very large amount that Beeminder already supports. I wonder if there’s an aggregation setting that could be created for some people’s weight loss goals (and who knows what other types of goals this could be useful for) where, if the datapoint could simply be deleted and the road wouldn’t derail, it’s ignored and won’t cause a derailment.

That way you have more time to get back down onto your road, leaving some room for fluctuations, but there’s a certain day by which you have to be back on the road, fluctuations or not. And that would allow people who are simply not recording weight on days they don’t have to, to go ahead and record, for the sake of the data, if they wanted to. (I’ve thought of some additional details about this, but I’ll spare the people in the thread from an even longer post!) Since you can see your datapoints visually distributed, it reduces the chances of backing yourself into a corner, too.