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How a $9.50 apparatus busted a 30-year old myth

...or "The Power of Measuring"

Last year I was not sleeping well and my general disposition was poor. I underwent several tests and later found that I was working under a lot of stress. The stress part I handled, and my doctor changed my medication and added another one. Sigh... But he also gave me an executive order. He said, “As your doctor, I am giving you only one order, lose weight.” My weight had ballooned to over 90kg since I went back to corporate life, and he said that the weight is causing undue stress on my heart. I had to lose weight and come down to 78kg, the ideal weight for my height. I told him, “Yes, I know. Now that I left my job, I will start exercising more.” To which his reply was, “Exercise will not help you. It’s your diet.” Yeah, right! Really? I had been in the Commandos and I know that the rigorous exercise I did then caused me to lose tremendous amounts of weight – and eating so much more than normal. So this is something that I know for a fact – exercise, more precisely running, will help me lose weight. Of course I will control what I eat, but I will use exercise to bring my weight down, excuse me!

That was in January. By April, my weight had not budged. Sure it came down a bit, coming off little around the tummy, but it was still in the region of 89 to 90kg. Then I did something last fortnight that I should have done a long time ago - I bought a digital weighing scale. And suddenly I got obsessed with my weight. I was standing on the scale more than 10 times a day, seeing how it fluctuated. This was when I found out that:

(1) your body weight varies almost 2kg either side on a given day,

(2) water is very heavy!

(3) running does not reduce your weight one bit – yesterday I ran 4km and my weight remained constant before and after the run!

(4) excrement, or more affectionately called shit, weighs more than 1kg, and

(5) alcohol keeps your weight way up!!!

This last one is a real humdinger, right? It’s a liquid diet, after all! And how did I find all these things out?

Constantly measuring and creating hypotheses.

Throughout the first week on the scale, my weight remained at the 88-89kg level despite eating almost no rice – I haven’t been eating much rice for more than 2 years now – and eating more vegetables, and drinking lots of water and coffee (black with no sugar, so it has no fat!). The only indulgence I gave myself was my wine – not much, just about 3 bottles a week, give or take. Then just last weekend, I had a nice party for one – it was F1 weekend, after all – and went through 1.5 bottles over Saturday and Sunday. My weight on Sunday night was 89.9kg. Ouch!

So I decided to go on the wagon for the next few days (today is Thursday). I still had some wine left over from Sunday, about 2 glasses worth, so I drank that up on Monday evening. By Monday evening, my weight was hovering between 88 to 89.7 kg. On Tuesday – no alcohol – it started to come down – between 87.4 to 88.6kg. Yesterday – again no alcohol – between 86.4 to 87.6kg. Today, it has read between 85.4 to 86.6kg!

In a span of a little more than 3 days, my average weight fell about 3kg! All with the absence of alcohol! I am continuing this experiment to see what happens to me by tomorrow, which would be the weekend, and I will reward myself with beer/wine, just to see the effect it has on my weight, and then try out this same experiment again next week. Stay tuned for the results!

To achieve something, you got to measure it