reminder (or goal) to record weight

hi all,

i’ve noticed some bad behavior around my weight goal—i tend to weigh
in less frequently when i think i might be over weight, for fear of
needing to do an emergency weight loss day.

this got me thinking about either a new feature or a meta-goal that
tracks how often i report on a goal. the email that’s set at
pre-recorded intervals (e.g., every weekday morning) was good at
first, but i’ve now learned to ignore it, more or less.

so this could manifest itself as a simple “settings” feature that says
"email me if i haven’t reported in X days".

another possibility is a “do more” goal that checks the original goal
(in this case my “lose weight” goal).

has anyone tried anything like this? curious for ideas/implementation/feedback?

best,
jake

I think we have a technical solution to this on the near horizon!

The idea is that you manually specify your road width for weight loss
goals and then pessimistic presumptive reports apply, like so: If you
said your weight can fluctuate by a kilogram day-to-day then that’s
how much leeway your road gives you but also Beeminder will presume
you’ve gained a kilogram if you don’t report.

(See related ultra-nerdy “math ftw!” thing I’m about to post.)

But the point for non-necessarily-nerds for weight loss is that the
colors work just like with other kinds of goals: if you eke into the
green today then if you report nothing you’ll be blue tomorrow, orange
the next day, and it will be an emergency day the day after that. And
that will be true regardless of the width of the road, which you can
change at will, subject to the akrasia horizon.

(We also need to keep Paul Fenwick happy so I’m thinking that
auto-widening will live on as an advanced setting: If you were blue or
green yesterday and red today then you can choose to have your lane
width immediately jump to accommodate that fluctuation. It will then
be up to you to ratchet it back down if that makes the road stupidly
wide.)

PS: Here’s another crazy idea we have, along the lines of your meta
proposal: https://trello.com/c/QIrEJypM/609-metamind-meta-goals-fuer-alles

On Mon, Dec 2, 2013 at 6:54 AM, Jake Hofman jhofman@gmail.com wrote:

hi all,

i’ve noticed some bad behavior around my weight goal—i tend to weigh
in less frequently when i think i might be over weight, for fear of
needing to do an emergency weight loss day.

this got me thinking about either a new feature or a meta-goal that
tracks how often i report on a goal. the email that’s set at
pre-recorded intervals (e.g., every weekday morning) was good at
first, but i’ve now learned to ignore it, more or less.

so this could manifest itself as a simple “settings” feature that says
"email me if i haven’t reported in X days".

another possibility is a “do more” goal that checks the original goal
(in this case my “lose weight” goal).

has anyone tried anything like this? curious for ideas/implementation/feedback?

best,
jake


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com

(We also need to keep Paul Fenwick happy so I’m thinking that
auto-widening will live on as an advanced setting: If you were blue or
green yesterday and red today then you can choose to have your lane
width immediately jump to accommodate that fluctuation. It will then
be up to you to ratchet it back down if that makes the road stupidly
wide.)

Thank you! I’m actually totally fine with my weight using the new
rules; it’s my inbox where I love the guarantee that if I’m in the
green today, then I can’t fail tomorrow. (I count unread mail as being
in my inbox, so I can weasel out by just not reading my mail.)

~ pjf

I know it’s popular, but it strikes me that tying reinforcment to your
weight directly (via beeminder or whatever) is a bad idea, since you don’t
control it directly. I would reinforce your diet and exercise program, and
if you notice that you’re sticking to those but not getting the results you
want, you adjust them to make them more strict (or whatever you think will
make the difference).

On Mon, Dec 2, 2013 at 4:54 PM, Jake Hofman jhofman@gmail.com wrote:

hi all,

i’ve noticed some bad behavior around my weight goal—i tend to weigh
in less frequently when i think i might be over weight, for fear of
needing to do an emergency weight loss day.

this got me thinking about either a new feature or a meta-goal that
tracks how often i report on a goal. the email that’s set at
pre-recorded intervals (e.g., every weekday morning) was good at
first, but i’ve now learned to ignore it, more or less.

so this could manifest itself as a simple “settings” feature that says
"email me if i haven’t reported in X days".

another possibility is a “do more” goal that checks the original goal
(in this case my “lose weight” goal).

has anyone tried anything like this? curious for
ideas/implementation/feedback?

best,
jake


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I agree with Adam. I started out using output-based goals (e.g. typing
speed, how much I can bench press) and now I use input-based goals (e.g.
minutes of typing practice, whether or not I went to the gym), and it works
better for me.

On 3 December 2013 18:18, Adam Mesha araizen@gmail.com wrote:

I know it’s popular, but it strikes me that tying reinforcment to your
weight directly (via beeminder or whatever) is a bad idea, since you don’t
control it directly. I would reinforce your diet and exercise program, and
if you notice that you’re sticking to those but not getting the results you
want, you adjust them to make them more strict (or whatever you think will
make the difference).

On Mon, Dec 2, 2013 at 4:54 PM, Jake Hofman jhofman@gmail.com wrote:

hi all,

i’ve noticed some bad behavior around my weight goal—i tend to weigh
in less frequently when i think i might be over weight, for fear of
needing to do an emergency weight loss day.

this got me thinking about either a new feature or a meta-goal that
tracks how often i report on a goal. the email that’s set at
pre-recorded intervals (e.g., every weekday morning) was good at
first, but i’ve now learned to ignore it, more or less.

so this could manifest itself as a simple “settings” feature that says
"email me if i haven’t reported in X days".

another possibility is a “do more” goal that checks the original goal
(in this case my “lose weight” goal).

has anyone tried anything like this? curious for
ideas/implementation/feedback?

best,
jake


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"Akratics Anonymous" group.
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– Alistair

Beeminder is indeed best for things you have direct control over.
Inputs rather than outputs. But there are 2 reasons why I think it’s
also good for weight:

  1. You can beemind weight in addition to calories or exercise or other
    healthy habits that you do have direct control over. Keep the weight
    loss goal very
    conservative (or even flat) so that you don’t have to stress about an
    expensive derailment on something hard to fully control. You can also
    uncheck the auto-increasing pledges option, so it only costs $5 per
    derailment (which, if the road is dialed conservatively, should be
    rare anyway).

  2. This is the crazy part, but I think weight can in fact be under
    one’s direct control. You should of course try to control it with
    long-term, sustainable healthy habits, but when push comes to shove
    you can spend all day eating very little and working out a lot and you
    can guarantee your weight will go down over the course of the day. In
    theory that’s dangerously abusable (think wrestlers cutting weight by
    dehydrating) but in practice I’ve found that it’s easy to abide by
    reasonable rules: (1) you can lose a bunch of weight from sweating
    which kind of shouldn’t count but if you at least always drink when
    thirsty then there’s nothing dangerous about it, and (2) only do
    things that are beneficial in the long term as well as the short term,
    like reduced calories and increased workouts.

I totally understand that that’s not viable for everyone though!

On Mon, Dec 2, 2013 at 11:23 PM, Alistair Roche roche.a@gmail.com wrote:

I agree with Adam. I started out using output-based goals (e.g. typing
speed, how much I can bench press) and now I use input-based goals (e.g.
minutes of typing practice, whether or not I went to the gym), and it works
better for me.

On 3 December 2013 18:18, Adam Mesha araizen@gmail.com wrote:

I know it’s popular, but it strikes me that tying reinforcment to your
weight directly (via beeminder or whatever) is a bad idea, since you don’t
control it directly. I would reinforce your diet and exercise program, and
if you notice that you’re sticking to those but not getting the results you
want, you adjust them to make them more strict (or whatever you think will
make the difference).

On Mon, Dec 2, 2013 at 4:54 PM, Jake Hofman jhofman@gmail.com wrote:

hi all,

i’ve noticed some bad behavior around my weight goal—i tend to weigh
in less frequently when i think i might be over weight, for fear of
needing to do an emergency weight loss day.

this got me thinking about either a new feature or a meta-goal that
tracks how often i report on a goal. the email that’s set at
pre-recorded intervals (e.g., every weekday morning) was good at
first, but i’ve now learned to ignore it, more or less.

so this could manifest itself as a simple “settings” feature that says
"email me if i haven’t reported in X days".

another possibility is a “do more” goal that checks the original goal
(in this case my “lose weight” goal).

has anyone tried anything like this? curious for
ideas/implementation/feedback?

best,
jake


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– Alistair


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http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com

On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 6:10 AM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:

Beeminder is indeed best for things you have direct control over.
Inputs rather than outputs. But there are 2 reasons why I think it’s
also good for weight:

hi all,

thanks for the great feedback and advice.

maybe i should drop the weight-based goal all-together, but there’s
something nice about just tracking the measurements themselves …

that said, i’ll second (or third, i suppose) the superiority of
"input" based tasks.

for instance, i found that switching from “do X pushups per day” to
"do pushups X times per week" made a big difference in my ability to
achieve and maintain my goal. the primary reason for this is probably
that i’m not good at goal setting. that said, i found that i just
needed beeminder to get me over the hump of getting into pushup
position—once i was there i did my routine and got out a good number
of pushups.

dan griped about this leading to some information loss, but i was
logging the number of pushups as metadata, so it’s all there in
theory. (side note: it’d be fun to be able to automatically plot
numerical metadata for these types of goals.)

  1. You can beemind weight in addition to calories or exercise or other
    healthy habits that you do have direct control over. Keep the weight
    loss goal very
    conservative (or even flat) so that you don’t have to stress about an
    expensive derailment on something hard to fully control. You can also
    uncheck the auto-increasing pledges option, so it only costs $5 per
    derailment (which, if the road is dialed conservatively, should be
    rare anyway).

funny, btw: this is how my weight goal started a year ago—the
description was “don’t get fat over the holidays”, with a flat road.

but i soon found that monitoring led to some improved habits, and that
i was losing weight. that was the first time i really appreciated the
beauty of the adjustable road.

you can spend all day eating very little and working out a lot and you
can guarantee your weight will go down over the course of the day. In
theory that’s dangerously abusable (think wrestlers cutting weight by
dehydrating)

true, but it’s not all that fun! (i did this far too often while
wrestling in high school … losing 2lbs is easy if you simply don’t
eat for a day; losing 5lb requires some work.)

PS: Here’s another crazy idea we have, along the lines of your meta proposal: https://trello.com/c/QIrEJypM/609-metamind-meta-goals-fuer-alles

awesome—this is pretty much exactly what i had in mind.

-j

+1 to the feature-request-in-passing to add plotting of numerical metadata.
I’m Beeminding a graduated fitness ladder (the one from The Hacker’s Diet)
and recording as a comment which rung I was on on a given day. It helps me
make sure that I’m pushing upward, and seeing that progress plotted would
be cool.

I agree that weight is not an ideal goal, but it’s also a very important
output that’s worth tracking.

One tangential point: I’m currently not weighing myself daily because I’m
spending 2+ weeks at my in-laws, and their old mechanical scale is wildly
inaccurate (leaning forward and backward slightly can swing my weight by
two pounds!). Therefore I’m just letting that goal go without data for a
while. The new assumed-to-gain-weight-on-no-data proposal would be a
problem here.

Braden

On Tue Dec 03 2013 at 8:05:24 AM, Jake Hofman jhofman@gmail.com wrote:

On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 6:10 AM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:

Beeminder is indeed best for things you have direct control over.
Inputs rather than outputs. But there are 2 reasons why I think it’s
also good for weight:

hi all,

thanks for the great feedback and advice.

maybe i should drop the weight-based goal all-together, but there’s
something nice about just tracking the measurements themselves …

that said, i’ll second (or third, i suppose) the superiority of
"input" based tasks.

for instance, i found that switching from “do X pushups per day” to
"do pushups X times per week" made a big difference in my ability to
achieve and maintain my goal. the primary reason for this is probably
that i’m not good at goal setting. that said, i found that i just
needed beeminder to get me over the hump of getting into pushup
position—once i was there i did my routine and got out a good number
of pushups.

dan griped about this leading to some information loss, but i was
logging the number of pushups as metadata, so it’s all there in
theory. (side note: it’d be fun to be able to automatically plot
numerical metadata for these types of goals.)

  1. You can beemind weight in addition to calories or exercise or other
    healthy habits that you do have direct control over. Keep the weight
    loss goal very
    conservative (or even flat) so that you don’t have to stress about an
    expensive derailment on something hard to fully control. You can also
    uncheck the auto-increasing pledges option, so it only costs $5 per
    derailment (which, if the road is dialed conservatively, should be
    rare anyway).

funny, btw: this is how my weight goal started a year ago—the
description was “don’t get fat over the holidays”, with a flat road.

but i soon found that monitoring led to some improved habits, and that
i was losing weight. that was the first time i really appreciated the
beauty of the adjustable road.

you can spend all day eating very little and working out a lot and you
can guarantee your weight will go down over the course of the day. In
theory that’s dangerously abusable (think wrestlers cutting weight by
dehydrating)

true, but it’s not all that fun! (i did this far too often while
wrestling in high school … losing 2lbs is easy if you simply don’t
eat for a day; losing 5lb requires some work.)

PS: Here’s another crazy idea we have, along the lines of your meta
proposal: https://trello.com/c/QIrEJypM/609-metamind-meta-goals-fuer-alles

awesome—this is pretty much exactly what i had in mind.

-j


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
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+1 to plotting numerical metadata as well. That’s basically what I’m doing
with my current weightlifting goal. I’ve put it at user voice:

=====
–Ryan E. Freckleton

On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 10:22 AM, Braden Shepherdson <
braden.shepherdson@gmail.com> wrote:

+1 to the feature-request-in-passing to add plotting of numerical
metadata. I’m Beeminding a graduated fitness ladder (the one from The
Hacker’s Diet) and recording as a comment which rung I was on on a given
day. It helps me make sure that I’m pushing upward, and seeing that
progress plotted would be cool.

I agree that weight is not an ideal goal, but it’s also a very important
output that’s worth tracking.

One tangential point: I’m currently not weighing myself daily because I’m
spending 2+ weeks at my in-laws, and their old mechanical scale is wildly
inaccurate (leaning forward and backward slightly can swing my weight by
two pounds!). Therefore I’m just letting that goal go without data for a
while. The new assumed-to-gain-weight-on-no-data proposal would be a
problem here.

Braden

On Tue Dec 03 2013 at 8:05:24 AM, Jake Hofman jhofman@gmail.com wrote:

On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 6:10 AM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com
wrote:

Beeminder is indeed best for things you have direct control over.
Inputs rather than outputs. But there are 2 reasons why I think it’s
also good for weight:

hi all,

thanks for the great feedback and advice.

maybe i should drop the weight-based goal all-together, but there’s
something nice about just tracking the measurements themselves …

that said, i’ll second (or third, i suppose) the superiority of
“input” based tasks.

for instance, i found that switching from “do X pushups per day” to
“do pushups X times per week” made a big difference in my ability to
achieve and maintain my goal. the primary reason for this is probably
that i’m not good at goal setting. that said, i found that i just
needed beeminder to get me over the hump of getting into pushup
position—once i was there i did my routine and got out a good number
of pushups.

dan griped about this leading to some information loss, but i was
logging the number of pushups as metadata, so it’s all there in
theory. (side note: it’d be fun to be able to automatically plot
numerical metadata for these types of goals.)

  1. You can beemind weight in addition to calories or exercise or other
    healthy habits that you do have direct control over. Keep the weight
    loss goal very
    conservative (or even flat) so that you don’t have to stress about an
    expensive derailment on something hard to fully control. You can also
    uncheck the auto-increasing pledges option, so it only costs $5 per
    derailment (which, if the road is dialed conservatively, should be
    rare anyway).

funny, btw: this is how my weight goal started a year ago—the
description was “don’t get fat over the holidays”, with a flat road.

but i soon found that monitoring led to some improved habits, and that
i was losing weight. that was the first time i really appreciated the
beauty of the adjustable road.

you can spend all day eating very little and working out a lot and you
can guarantee your weight will go down over the course of the day. In
theory that’s dangerously abusable (think wrestlers cutting weight by
dehydrating)

true, but it’s not all that fun! (i did this far too often while
wrestling in high school … losing 2lbs is easy if you simply don’t
eat for a day; losing 5lb requires some work.)

PS: Here’s another crazy idea we have, along the lines of your meta
proposal: https://trello.com/c/QIrEJypM/609-metamind-meta-goals-fuer-alles

awesome—this is pretty much exactly what i had in mind.

-j


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“Akratics Anonymous” group.
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One tangential point: I’m currently not weighing myself daily because I’m
spending 2+ weeks at my in-laws, and their old mechanical scale is wildly
inaccurate (leaning forward and backward slightly can swing my weight by two
pounds!). Therefore I’m just letting that goal go without data for a while.
The new assumed-to-gain-weight-on-no-data proposal would be a problem here.

At least in the initial implementation, being on a flat section of
road will mean no pessimistic presumptive reports. So flattening your
road for a vacation will still work. Having a weight loss road slope
up – a la the infamous all-you-can-eat-buffet-hopping vacation –
on the hand will not stop pessimistic presumptive reports. I’m not
sure if we’ll need a special case for that.

Longer term we might want a feature where you can have explicit gaps
in your road – no reminders, no pessimistic presumptive reports, no
yellow brick road at all for pre-defined period of time. The road
resumes at wherever you are when you get back. Ie, truly pressure-free
vacations if you want them.


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com