Of course, science is always happening, but right now the 25th Anniversary Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (aka, the SLEEP meeting) is being held in Minnesota. If you couldn’t make it this year, don’t worry – Dan is at the meeting and has been feeding us data hot off the presses via Twitter.
Don’t wait kids – see what’s new in sleep research here!
A few years back a friend told me a story about his grandfather who was in WWII. According to the story, his grandpa determined that he was at his best weight when he was in the army. So after the war was over and he kept his uniform neatly folded in his closet where he could easily reach it. Every morning he would put on his uniform slacks. If they were tight, he’d eat a little less. If they were loose, he’d eat a little more. If they fit as they should, he’d eat normally. He did this his whole life and, and as I was told, he spent his entire adult life at roughly the same weight.
This story represents the virtue of feedback. This WWII hero was able to make small modifications to his daily habits because he had a reliable benchmark that would guide his behavior. He didn’t put his slacks on every 3 months or once a year, he put them on daily.
Weighing yourself on a scale can serve in a similar capacity. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or sustain your current weight, having an easy-to-use scale that lets you know how you’re doing over time can be really useful.
For years, I have weighted myself almost every morning and I write it down. Every so often I’ll transfer that data into an Excel sheet so I can graph the results; it’s time consuming but I like the consistent feedback and it’s also really interesting to see how my weight changes over time, or when it stabilized for long periods of time. Because I have been doing this consistently and have taken the time to review and contemplate the data, I have developed an intuitive sense of what works in my life regarding weight management. So, this is really informative but it’s also laborious to maintain.
My actual data from a few years back
Dan’s Plan Product Philosophy
At this point, let me briefly remind you of the Dan’s Plan philosophy regarding products: You don’t need any product to be healthy. However, products can be useful as they can provide feedback, add convenience, serve to motivate, and can even make goal attainment more fun. When you find the right product for you, it can serve as a great health advocate to support your efforts! With that in mind, we explore and evaluate the world of health-related products and select novel, innovative and functional productions that we think can help.
We also really like products that collect information for you in the background so you don’t have to do a lot of work to get the useful feedback. When we tested the Withings body weight scale, we knew it solved a problem: After a quick configuration (it took less than 2 minutes), when you step on the scale, it automatically sends (wirelessly over WiFi) your weight, body fat % and your body mass index to your Withings account (which also take just a minute to set up). Then, you can view these parameters on your computer and / mobile device (i.e., iphone) just by logging in; no other input required, it’s all there for you automatically. Check out some of my screen shots above! So now, I just have to step on the scale and it does the rest of it for me: record, track, and graph.
The easier it is to track data, the more consistent you’ll be in measuring something. The more regular you are about collecting data, the more information you’ll have at your fingertips to guide future behaviors. I really like my Withings scale and I think this would make a great holiday gift for you or someone you love. Also, if you think you’ll have New Year’s resolutions related to health and weight, a product like this can really support you in your quest.
It’s awe-inspiring to witness such a magnificent celebration of human movement potential. Look at the beauty and skill Danny demonstrates in this video and think of all the time and dedication he’s put into his craft. I’m pretty sure I’ll never be able to do any of this on a bike but seeing it has motivated me to get on my bike and have some fun today!