Projects /Losing Weight with Physics

Losing Weight with Physics!


After many years of trying to lose weight, eating healthy foods, and trying to exercise more, I wasn't getting very far. My weight was in a slow upward climb, crowning around 90kg (198lbs) at which point I started to snore heavily and it would disrupt my sleep.

I didn't know what to do. I hadn't exactly been raised with a strong understanding of how weight correlated with the food vs. exercise equation, and clearly what little I grasped wasn't working for me.

I'd heard some people talking about "calorie counting", and so I decided to give it a shot. I downloaded an app that not only would keep track of what I was eating, but also had a massive database of nutritional information about most foods I bought at grocery stores and restaurants. I figured it couldn't hurt to get some data on what's going on.

I mentioned this to my doctor one day in passing. "Is this the sort of thing that's likely to help me lose weight?" I asked.

"It's the only thing that works." she said, as if I'd just asked the dumbest question she'd heard that week. I was honestly surprised, but her frankness gave me the confidence to push forward with my experiment.

There's no special diet with kooky rules, no fasting, and no eating like a rabbit. Instead, you just keep your daily caloric intake under the total caloric cost of keeping you alive in the span of that day. Do that every day (on average), and the laws of Physics dictate that you will lose weight.

...and it works.

I'm a data nerd, and FatSecret has a (limited, and kinda terrible) way of allowing you to access your data, so I've cobbled it all together in a pretty chart.

Note that the weight loss isn't staggering here. This is a slow, plodding loss of a one or two kilos per month, over the course of many months. It's the sort of thing that can be frustrating unless you're actively plotting the data, playing the long game.

Also note that I haven't really changed my diet at all. For the most part I've just eaten less of the stuff I love. Note the statistic below around the amount of Galaxy chocolate I've consumed since the project began. That stuff is delicious.

Fun Statistics

Mine RDI
Average calories consumed per day (kcal) 2100
Average fat per day (g) 70
...of which is saturated (g) 24
Average carbohydrates per day (g) ~310
Average fibre per day (g) 38
Average sugar per day (g) 50
Average protein per day (g) 64
Average cholesterol per day (mg) 300
Average sodium per day (mg) 2300
Average potassium per day (mg) 4700
 
Total calories in snacks alone (kcal) 0
...of which was Galaxy chocolate
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0
...making an average daily Galaxy chocolate consumption rate (g)
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