You + Me + Beeminder = Weight Loss (With Accountability) Starting Today

03.4.2014 | 1:31 pm

The Hammer and I were in Southern Utah last weekend.

IMG 8137


IMG 8162


IMG 8173

And in general just having a great time. 

As we rode and hiked, however, I constantly noticed something: my gut. I’ve managed to put back on a bunch of the weight I dropped last year (which is why all the pictures I’m showing above are of The Hammer, not of me). And it seems that, in the absence of an imminent race or a reason to keep my feet to the fire, I haven’t dropped much of it at all since the beginning of the year. (And what little I had dropped, I’ve put back on during our anniversary trip).

I’ve got a sneaking suspicion I’m not the only one who’s put on a few pounds during the winter months. And I suspect I’m not the only one who hasn’t done that fantastic of a job with keeping the weight off, and who would like to lighten up before summer gets into full swing.

So: time for a weight loss contest.

Fair warning, though: this is not something you will want to join unless you are committed now, and plan to stay committed for the next few months (at least). Because this is a contest with some teeth. 

The Short Version

I’ve partnered up with my friends at Beeminder to create a weight-loss contest. It’s not about how much you lose, and it’s not about how fast you lose it. It’s about setting a goal, then staying committed to the goal and being accountable when you slip up. 

Between now and Summer Solstice (June 21), you’re going to need to weigh and report in every day. As long as you stay on track (or better than on track), you earn points that will keep you up on the leaderboard. At the end of which, either the outright winner or a person randomly drawn from all the tied winners (because that’s possible and even likely) will win a pair of Rapha bibshorts (worth $235), which I am going to pay for myself. 

So, that’s the carrot. But there’s also a stick. 

Every time you go off-track, it will — very literally — cost you. And the more times you go off track, the more it’s going to cost. 

It’s a tough program. And if you’re serious about losing some weight, maybe a program tough enough to hurt when you cheat might be what you need, too.

And I’m stoked to get started.

The Details

So here’s how it works. 

First, you go to the sign-up page at Toward the bottom of the page, you’ll have the options to sign up for Beeminder and set your current and target weight (i.e., the weight you want to be at on June 21). 


The first thing you need to do is click the “Need to Sign up for Beeminder” link, which will let you sign in using your Twitter or FB account, or just signing up with Beeminder itself. 


 Once you’ve registered, you can set your current weight and your target weight:


And then you’ve got to have your credit card ready, because in order to sign up for this contest, you’ve got to ante up with the $19.95 entry fee. Why a $19.95 entry fee? Three reasons:

  1. I don’t want people signing up who don’t intend to play for reals. Consider this $19.95 an “are you serious” test. 
  2. To raise money for a good cause. Your $19.95 is completely in support of The Hammer’s fundraising efforts as a new ambassador for World Bicycle Relief. As in, all of your ante goes to WBR. 
  3. Because $19.95 is a bargain. Hey, it’s less than $20.00! (Isn’t it clever how I used psychological tactics to make what is essentially a $20 purchase feel like less than $20? I’m the first person to do that, ever.)

Once you’ve paid your $19.95 (via credit card), you’re all set to go and are taken to your own personal page. You should bookmark this page and come back every day to report your weight (Beeminder also has options where you can text and email your weight in, keeping it all pretty darned convenient). 

Recording And Understanding Your Data

As you record your weight each day, Beeminder builds you a graph, giving you a good sense of how you’re progressing toward your goal. Here’s a look at mine, from last year’s weight loss effort:


There’s a lot going on there, and it will take a little time for you to be able to read it at a glance, but you can grasp the basics easily:

  • The Yellow Band: The yellow band going down the chart is called “the yellow brick road” and is the range of weight you want to be at to hit your goal. If you can keep your weight somewhere on the road, you’re doing OK. 
  • The Dotted Orange Center Line: If you can keep your weight below the dotted orange center line, you’re doing awesome. 
  • The Dot Colors: Each dot is a weigh-in data point. A green dot means you’re actually below the good side of the road. A blue dot means you’re on the “good” side of the road, below the dotted center line. An orange dot means you’re in danger: you’re still on the road, but in danger of moving off it. And a red dot means you’ve moved off the wrong side of the road — you’ve derailed — and you’re going to have to pay up.

Of course, your chart won’t look like the one above for a while. Here’s my new one:


From here, I can see my yellow brick road for getting from where I am now (172.4) to 158, by June 21. And I’m determined to stay on (or really really close to) the “good side” of that yellow brick road for the duration of the contest. Watch me fill this graph up with data as time progresses. Darn it, there’s gonna be lots and lots of blue dots.

Of Points and Prizes and Data

For the duration of this contest, you can earn points. Here’s how:

  • 3 points: Every day you’re on the right side of the yellow brick road (a blue dot), you get three points.
  • 2 points: You get 2 points every day you outperform the yellow brick road (a green dot). Yes, you get fewer points for losing weight too fast. This isn’t a contest about crash dieting; it’s a contest about being slow and steady.
  • 1 point: Every day you’re on the wrong side of the yellow brick road (orange dot), you get one point.
  • 0 points: If you go off the yellow brick road or don’t report your weight for the day, you get 0 points. 

During the registration period (now until midnight, March 11), points are for practice. On March 12, everyone’s points reset to 0 and the contest begins in earnest. Whoever has the most points on June 21 wins a pair of what have become my favorite cycling luxury item — Rapha Classic Bib Shorts (or the women’s equivalent thereof). If there’s a tie for first place, I’ll draw from the winners randomly. If I win, I’ll buy the shorts for myself.

Why an expensive pair of bib shorts? Because these are really good shorts. I love mine. I have two pair (one that Rapha comped me, and one that I told The Hammer I wanted for Christmas because then I can pretty much wear them for every ride).

The Stick

So, what happens when you derail and go off the bad side of the yellow brick road? 

Well, the first time, you get a warning. It doesn’t cost you anything. The second time, it costs you $5, which is charged to the credit card you give when you start this contest. The next time, it costs $10. Then $30. Then $90. Then $270. And so forth. 

So yeah. You don’t want to derail more than three times. Or four at the most. Because that’s going to hurt.

So, once again: you shouldn’t sign up unless you’re really, truly committed to making a change and sticking to your program ’til at least June 21. 

By the way, half of your “derail” money goes to WBR, and the other half goes to the folks at Beeminder, who deserve to make at least a little money off this project.

But What If You’re Freaked Out by the Derailment Escalation?

If you want to join but simply cannot deal with the hardcore escalation of Beeminder, you can change that from your personal page by clicking the Settings link (it looks like a gear), then deselecting the “Increase pledge” checkbox:


Be sure to save your changes (the site will warn you if you try to leave without saving, by the way). 

Sign Up Now

Okay, enough jibber-jabber. It’s time to sign up. Weigh in and get out your credit card. And then start posting your weigh-in info every day — and watch to see how others are doing over at the leaderboard.

You stand to win a pair of very nice shorts, and you stand to lose whatever weight you’ve been wanting to get rid of forever, but haven’t been quite motivated enough to really step up your game. 

Sign up now. And I’ll see you on the leaderboard

PS: The Beeminder folks have promised to watch this site and answer your questions as you sign up and configure your goals. 


  1. Comment by berry | 03.4.2014 | 1:59 pm

    What if I’m in a recently-started beeminder already? Should I start a new one?

  2. Comment by Daniel Reeves | 03.4.2014 | 2:01 pm

    Hey Berry! Go to and it should prompt you to add your existing weight loss goal. Also: Hey everyone! So excited about this contest! Thanks so much, Fatty!

  3. Comment by Bee Soule | 03.4.2014 | 2:02 pm

    Eeek! Beeminder is super excited for this, Thanks again Fatty! There, I just signed up too, and created a biking beeminder because I’ve been slacking on my bike commuting this winter!

  4. Comment by Liz M. | 03.4.2014 | 2:09 pm

    If I sign up with my Facebook account, will it post my progress on FB? I don’t necessarily mind my friends knowing I’m doing this, but I’m not sure I want to broadcast my weight for all the world to see. ;-)

    Good idea for a contest! Good luck, everyone!

  5. Comment by David C. | 03.4.2014 | 2:10 pm

    What if I miss a day of check in because I am on the road and don’t have access to a scale? Is it just I have to have enough buffer to sustain the upward trend of my weight or does it blast me with a fine simply because I didn’t weigh in?

  6. Comment by Daniel Reeves | 03.4.2014 | 2:17 pm

    @Liz: No, no facebook posting. We should totally add that, but if we do we’ll have it be totally opt-in. I think it’s the slimiest thing ever when apps do that without getting very explicit permission.

  7. Comment by Bee Soule | 03.4.2014 | 2:21 pm

    @David: if you skip weighing for a day we assume you stayed the same weight, so as long as you are far enough below the top edge of the road, there’s no fine for missing a day. If you go AWOL and stop weighing in entirely you will eventually get fined.

  8. Comment by Daniel Reeves | 03.4.2014 | 2:22 pm

    @David: No fines simply for missed weigh-ins, as long as you have enough safety buffer. (Whenever there’s a question or ambiguity like that we always try to make sure the answer is the more generous one. We have very twisted views of what’s fair and reasonable though, so I’m sure we fail at that all the time. So keep asking such questions!)

    PS to Liz: Eventually we’ll probably also have an option to show off your graph without showing your actual numbers. If you’re good at mental math you could report your numbers as an offset from your true weight. Maybe we should stick to true weights for this contest though. We’re going to make a group graph showing average weight lost and whatnot, which might break if people do that offset trick.

  9. Comment by Patrick | 03.4.2014 | 2:26 pm

    All signed up, good luck everybody!

  10. Comment by RustyRed | 03.4.2014 | 3:25 pm

    SWEET! FOR CHARITY? I’m in! Thanks for answering Berry’s question, that was my first thought!

  11. Comment by Bill | 03.4.2014 | 4:03 pm

    This is a very cool contest. I’m all signed up. If things are going well and someone (not saying me!) reaches their goal well ahead of June 21, if they continue to lose weight, do they continue to earn points? Or, if their goal is achieved ahead of June 21st, can the goal weight be decreased so that points can continue to be earned?

  12. Comment by Mark in Bremerton | 03.4.2014 | 4:04 pm

    I am one of the lucky (?) souls that can’t GAIN weight. I’ve been the same within about 5 pounds since I was 25 years old except for illnesses or other short term events. (I guess I could make a flat yellow brick road goal and max out on all the points, but I won’t do that to everyone honestly trying to lose weight). I’ll still donate to WBR this year however. Have fun and good luck to all the participants!

  13. Comment by Sara | 03.4.2014 | 4:11 pm

    Does this mean that if we’re already on the road to losing, we should stop trying until March 11, just so we have a higher starting weight? Or is your start weight based on whatever date you sign up? (and just the points are collected after March 11)

    The latter: your start weight is based on the date you sign up. We begin collecting points on the 12th. It’s a good idea to sign up ASAP. – FC

  14. Comment by David C. | 03.4.2014 | 4:35 pm

    Ok, final question before I setup…

    I totally get I won’t win a chance at the prize because I simply can’t check in every day. That’s ok with me but I want to be part of the group anyway. Between 2 and 3 days a week (and always in a row) I am out of town as an airline pilot. In fact, I leave on a trip midday tomorrow, Wednesday.

    Does it make sense for me to start my challenge tomorrow morning with a weigh-in, knowing I won’t be able to weigh myself again until Saturday morning two days later? Won’t I go over the line almost immediately, or is that the purpose of the flat start to the first few days of the line I see on some graphs?

    I suppose I could wait until Saturday and start then with a several weigh ins at home, but I really want to start tomorrow… I’m tired of putting off getting in shape again this spring and Lent starts etc.


    Don’t wait. You won’t win because you can’t weigh yourself every day, but I won’t either (I’m traveling about a week each month right now and can’t weigh myself). The real “win” of this is that you’ll set a goal and — along with all of us, will achieve it. – FC

  15. Comment by Turn The Damn Cranks | 03.4.2014 | 5:06 pm

    Fatty: Great cause, as always. And great prize. But daily weigh-ins are, in my view, the wrong standard for fines. Studies apparently show that daily weigh-ins help people stay mentally on track. But we all know that hydration, dehydration, and other random factors affect your weight at a given moment. Real weight loss progress can be made even with some daily fluctuations in the wrong direction. Much better to penalize based on a measurement every few days, or even once a week. So I plan to sit this one out. Although I am open to being persuaded that my view is wrong. Am I?

  16. Comment by J | 03.4.2014 | 5:10 pm

    Fatty only weighs 127? He must be super short to have a guy show like that.

    I keed I keed. I hope, for Fatty’s sake, that he didn’t just broadcast Hammer’s weight to the world.

  17. Comment by J | 03.4.2014 | 5:19 pm

    *gut. I meant gut. Autocorrect got me.

  18. Comment by David C. | 03.4.2014 | 5:22 pm

    Turn The Damn Cranks: you are “sorta” wrong. daily weigh ins are required to get daily points towards a chance to win Fatty’s prize at the end of this thing. they are NOT required to avoid fines. beeminder uses very highly customized formulas to create very reasonable ranges above and below your target line that change constantly but always give you significant margin for error. They treat a no-weigh in day as if you weighed the same as the day before so your weight will inch closer to the target line which is descending but it is very unlikely to put you over the line unless you were super over the line to start with or you don’t log your weight for a long time. I am likely going to sign up and I will be unable to log my weight daily so I doubt I’ll have a chance at a prize but the real prize is better health and I’m not concerned in general that my lack of a daily weigh in will cost me money.

  19. Comment by Susan's Sister Christine | 03.4.2014 | 5:26 pm

    Beautiful pictures! Where was the top one taken? Glad you had a great time.

    The top one is in Zion Natl Park, on the way up to Observation point. Second one is on Guacamole trail near Virgin. Third one is on Suicidal Tendencies trail in St. George. – FC

  20. Comment by UpTheGrade, SR, CA | 03.4.2014 | 5:33 pm

    Now that you’ve signed up I’d better warn you of the dangers of a high protein diet – according to today’s Daily Telegraph newspaper (UK)
    I’m going back to my twinky diet – great for downhill speed on the bike.

  21. Comment by Daniel Reeves | 03.4.2014 | 5:34 pm

    @Bill: If you reach your target early then your Yellow Brick Road becomes flat but it’s all the same to Beeminder: just keep weighing in on that road, flat or not! The real point is to get to your idea weight *and then stay there*.

    @Mark the unicorn: Heck yes, you can even have an upward-sloping Yellow Brick Road if your goal is to gain weight: everything applies exactly the same. Just get from where you are now to where you need to be, slow and steady. OH WAIT, you’re saying your goal is stay exactly where you are, and you’re some kind of freak of nature who does that without effort? Ok, yeah, no shorts for you! :)

  22. Comment by Daniel Reeves | 03.4.2014 | 5:42 pm

    @Turn The Damn Cranks: Ooh, let us attempt to convince you! (We’ve thought about this kind of thing almost literally ad nauseum.) Actually, I see David C beat us to it — THANKS DAVID C! — but here’s more on our philosophy about daily weigh-ins:

    So we definitely believe that the more data you collect the better, and that the Yellow Brick Road has enough width to accommodate fluctuations. And like David says, the penalties only apply when you go completely off track. You can easily avoid the penalties with intermittent weigh-ins, though you won’t get a lot points for the contest that way.

    (We might even tweak the formula to not penalize, points-wise, so much for a missed week of weigh-ins when traveling. But we do want to incentivize weighing in every day as much as possible.)

  23. Comment by David C. | 03.4.2014 | 8:43 pm

    Daniel… still have that quick question… can i start tomorrow knowing i won’t be able to log again for 2 days? it seems many of these charts actually show that first few days have a flat line before it starts down?

  24. Comment by Daniel Reeves | 03.4.2014 | 8:51 pm

    @David C: Yes, absolutely. You’re right that the Yellow Brick Road is flat for the first week so definitely you can get away with a gap in the first week.

  25. Pingback by Fat Cyclist Weight Loss Competition with Beeminder | Beeminder Blog | 03.4.2014 | 9:33 pm

    [...] $1000 and then paid it all to charity. So we were really excited when he asked us to help him run a weightloss competition with teeth. (We’re also big fans of [...]

  26. Comment by Al Pastor | 03.4.2014 | 10:37 pm

    I am way to much of a chicken (plump fat chicken) to sign up for this.

  27. Comment by The Cyclist | 03.5.2014 | 5:15 am

    Oh… I love Zion Canyon! It smells so lovely in the spring. Would love to join your contest and would love to lose some weight but I’m at only 8% body fat due to severe OCCD. Not sure how to go about it. Would it even be healthy?

  28. Comment by David C. | 03.5.2014 | 7:02 am

    I’m in as “b737officeview” for a big loss… 153.6 -> 133.0 (I’m a very small boned 5′4″ guy that runs half marathons but eats way to many super-sized fries.)

  29. Comment by Mukrider | 03.5.2014 | 11:03 am

    I’m in. Bad timing though, It’s Girl Scout Cookie season. Even though my daughter has not been a girl scout for years the cookies keep showing up, and SOMEBODY has to eat them…

    Starting at (almost) the same weight as Fatty, although my goal is not quite as low because, um, because I’ll be building muscle along the way, ya, that’s it.

  30. Comment by Daniel Reeves | 03.5.2014 | 11:59 am

    @Mukrider: You could beemind your cookie consumption as well. Here’s how I do that:

    Also, holy cow, so many people signing up! Thank you! The points aren’t showing up yet; we’re fixing that now. By “we” I mean Bethany who’s the one who writes the actual code around here.

  31. Comment by pfonke | 03.5.2014 | 12:29 pm

    I was already using Beeminder, and I’m having trouble getting set up. Ideally I’d just like to start afresh as though I were first signing up as part of the contest. Instead, I’m forced into my old (failed) weight goal. Among other consequences, I’m not getting the first-fail-free starting point given to new users. Yes, I already had a free fail, but I just wanted to join the challenge with everyone else. I can’t exactly tell if I’m currently locked in to $5 or $10.

    In addition, my graph shows its fairly ancient start date. I clicked something about hiding previous data, but it doesn’t seem to have changed anything.

    Thanks, and sorry for all the questions. And whining. Lots of whining.

  32. Comment by Daniel Reeves | 03.5.2014 | 12:47 pm

    @pfonke: Eep, it’s supposed to let you have a fresh start even with an existing weight graph. If you email we’ll fix you up!

  33. Comment by blair | 03.5.2014 | 12:50 pm

    I was tempted until I saw the vig Beeminder was charging. They got paid up front, and shouldn’t take more than 2% of the penalty money.

    Blair, the Beeminder folks don’t get ANY of the up-front money. That ALL goes to WBR. As for the rest, Beeminder has done a TON of custom coding for this project, at no charge. They deserve whatever they happen to make. Let’s make a guess at what they might earn. Suppose that 100 people sign up for this, and that we each derail twice. That’s $15 / person, times 100. That’s $1500, of which Beeminder keeps $750 (the other half goes to WBR). For what I would guess is about 50 hours of work. That’s $15/hr they’ll be making, best-case for them. They won’t get rich off this. – FC

  34. Comment by Daniel Reeves | 03.5.2014 | 12:52 pm

    @blair: Beeminder doesn’t get paid anything up front. That $19.95 is all for World Bicycle Relief.

  35. Comment by Heidi | 03.5.2014 | 12:55 pm

    Fatty, the top photo is amaaazing…

    Yeah, EVERYONE who visits So. UT should take the time to visit Zion Natl park and hike the Observation Point trail. It’s even more beautiful in person (I’m not a good photographer). – FC

  36. Comment by Wife#OhDearGod | 03.5.2014 | 1:16 pm

    LOVE this supporting the Hammer and WBR so I am all in. But howz about a back-up prize for those of us on the more, er, voluptuous side? Cuz I feel pretty damn sure that no matter how much I could possibly lose by June 21, even the largest Rapha would still not fit. Possibly ever :-) Even when I lose everything I want to lose, I’ll still be, er, voluptuous (read as being the lifetime owner of child bearing hips though long past child bearing). If not, no worries, still in, but let’s be clear, this site is called fatcyclist… some of us are living that dream baby!

    Oh and curse you for making the phrase “chorus of angels” pop into my head every time someone says or writes Rapha!

    Oh, you — above all people, certainly — know that I am willing to accommodate prize winners. This is certainly the case this time, since Rapha isn’t even donating the prize for this contest. – FC

  37. Comment by KM | 03.5.2014 | 3:05 pm

    Ok I crushed Fatty last time we did a weight loss challenge. And naturally I’ve re-gained some (but not all) of my weight. Now I’m intrigued, I could attempt to badly beat Fatty again (see how I goad him), support WBR, risk monetary penalties and potentially reap a reward of sweet bib shorts or I could maintain my Clydesdale weight and race as a Clydesdale thereby increasing my odds of podium. My selfish nature is winning on this one but we’ll see………

  38. Comment by spaceyace | 03.5.2014 | 4:33 pm

    I love this…I’m one of those akrasia people. I take back any sarcastic remarks I may or may not have made two posts prior. Signed up and all psyched about a new pair of shorts (and even more so about getting back to my college weight). Thank you FC!

  39. Comment by Anonymous | 03.5.2014 | 4:43 pm

    @FC excellent! As I said, I would participate in any case for the love of the cause but now I’ll happily forgive you for those accursed Rapha angels.

    And of course if I manage to defy the laws of physics and lose the remainder of the 160 pounds by Sept 1, BostonCarlos told me he’s going to come out here again so we can ride our Ripley’s together. Course mine would be waaaay prettier than his…. jes sayin’ Carlos!

  40. Comment by Wife#OhDearGod | 03.5.2014 | 5:06 pm

    Okay not sure why that posted as anonymous above but guessing you figured it out anyway. Hi ho I go back to work.

  41. Comment by ClydesdaleLogic | 03.6.2014 | 12:57 am

    Oh boy… just signed up! Nothing says “Drop the weight. Or ELSE!” like “Drop the weight or I take your money!”

  42. Comment by Liz M. | 03.6.2014 | 5:32 am

    Forgive my ignorance, but I signed up yesterday and have no idea how to enter today’s weight. I’m entering it in boxes on my page but it’s not sticking. I did lose weight! Thanks.

  43. Comment by Liz M. | 03.6.2014 | 6:13 am

    Never mind . . . I figured out I have to enter the day (in this case, “6″), a space, and then my new weight. Now it works.

  44. Comment by saltz | 03.6.2014 | 6:31 am

    I’m in. If I hit my goal, I’ll be a half-inch taller and 28 pounds heavier than vincenzo nibali. how is he 139 pounds?!

  45. Comment by Libby | 03.6.2014 | 8:29 am

    David C.: use the baggage scales? That should make for some interesting conversation with the front staff!

    I’d like to but I know I’m too lack-a-daisal to stick to it. And it’s only 10lbs!

    I’ll think about how badly I want to not look like a stuffed sausage in my spandex.

  46. Comment by Lulea | 03.6.2014 | 11:31 am

    Anybody have a good recommendation for a reliable home scale. I don’t need the hydration, fat%, etc. features just weight. I have tried 2 different ones and they are not reliable. I can get on and off them 2-3 times right after one another and the weight values will be over a 5lb range.

  47. Comment by bob | 03.6.2014 | 11:47 am

    Lulea: I bought this scale a while back for my weight loss and it’s within 2-3 tenths of the high dollar scale in the doctors office.

    I highly recommend it!

  48. Comment by SLL | 03.6.2014 | 1:07 pm

    I started a new diet last sunday and have lost 9 pounds. Can I count from that number?

  49. Pingback by Going Public | Damon Gene | 03.6.2014 | 1:26 pm

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  50. Comment by UpTheGrade, SR, CA | 03.6.2014 | 1:42 pm

    It looks like the Hammer will hit her goal before the competition even starts – she’s such an over-achiever!

    I was going to sign up, but then my wife produced butter cookies and my resolve melted right away. Don’t you just love butter cookies? Oops, am I making you drool, sorry…

  51. Comment by Daniel Reeves | 03.6.2014 | 2:44 pm

    @Liz M: Yup, we really appreciate getting questions like that, even if you end up figuring it out, since it tells us what things are currently too confusing.

    @Lulea: Bethany and I have a Withings scale which is pretty amazing. We got it 5 years ago and it’s rock solid. Withings and the Fitbit Aria scale are the two that Beeminder integrates with. It’s super slick — you just step on the scale and your Beeminder graph magically updates. There’s literally nothing else you have to ever do once it’s set up. Except for, you know, losing weight.

    @SLL: No, but remember this isn’t a contest about how much weight you can lose, but about slow and steady progress toward where you wan to get to.

    Reminds me of an Onion article from 10 years ago:,1249/

  52. Comment by Carl | 03.6.2014 | 8:56 pm

    I signed up yesterday. Good luck everyone!

  53. Comment by Wife#OhDearGod | 03.6.2014 | 10:51 pm

    Oh shoot, I just read the fine print and saw I would get less points for “outperforming” the graph. That’s gonna hurt me the first couple of weeks (assuming I stick to plan) since initially I will lose big chunks of water weight I have regained.

    Oh well! The real prize IS the health and fitness at the end of it all, along with the sunshine and rainbows… *snort* We want prizes, we want prizes… ;-)

    BTW Fatty – I used #awesomesauce in a corporate communication today that was sent to more than 6k employees… oh yes I did.

  54. Comment by Steve | 03.7.2014 | 4:31 am

    Great work Fatty, I love the way your comps are always just a little bit different from anything anyone else is doing.

    Just wondering what happens AFTER 21st June.

    This is such a great idea, but to be honest I can’t see me keeping up the daily weigh-in beyond the end of the comp (whether or not I’ve hit the target), so I can imagine I could rack up quite a credit card bill.

    Assuming that the end of the comp is the end of the (financial) commitment, then I’m in.

  55. Comment by Lulea | 03.7.2014 | 11:30 am

    Daniel Reeves – once on beefinder and my account how do I look at the competition leaderboard without coming back to this block to click the link?

  56. Comment by Lulea | 03.7.2014 | 11:39 am

    oops meant blog not block.

  57. Comment by The Cyclist | 03.7.2014 | 2:12 pm

    Looks like you got a lot of fat followers. Godspeed!

  58. Comment by Daniel Reeves | 03.7.2014 | 4:19 pm

    @Wife#OhDearGod: Note that we’re still in the practice week! The points all reset Tuesday night. So maybe drop the water weight now and then go slow and steady starting Wednesday? (More fine print: you can actually hit the Retroratchet button to make the yellow brick road jump to where you are and get rid of your safety buffer.)

    @Steve: After June 21… We hope you’ll keep on reporting to Beeminder indefinitely to keep your weight from bouncing/creeping back up after the contest!

    @Lulea: Check out the Fat Cyclist widget thing we just added to the right of your graph. I guess we haven’t yet but we’ll include a link to the leaderboard there too.

    (This is all obviously evolving rapidly. Really appreciate all the ideas and questions and encouragement!)

  59. Comment by ctrshirey | 03.8.2014 | 9:20 am

    So, I signed up Thursday evening, March 6th. After using a stealth weight-loss grace period for Jan/Feb, I walked to the scale and recorded 182.4 as a starting weight with an ending goal of 159.9.

    Very next morning my weight was at 180.0 after doing nothing but sleeping and taking a leak a couple times.

    Good day yesterday and I was at 179.2 this morning… so I am well below my yellow brick road before we even started. Although the points competition is not my primary motivation, I’d still like to start off on the road and try to stay there with some blue dots.

    So what should I do… lower my end goal significantly? Change my starting weight? Chug down a 12-pack tonight?

  60. Comment by David C. | 03.8.2014 | 7:05 pm

    ctrshirey… if you go to beeminder just below the graph you will see “Retroratchet” it will immediately cause the yellow road to drop from your current weight towards your goal with no week of flatness NOR any advantage for the weight you have lost already. it makes it harder, right away instead of giving you a week to use a cushion… have fun!

  61. Comment by steventoby | 03.10.2014 | 6:36 am

    OK, I cannot sign up with the escalating fines (For several reasons). However, I do not want Beeminder to make nothing off me given Fatty’s explanation of their investment of time in this project. Is there a way to just pay the initial sign up fee, and then also pay a small fee to Beeminder to thank them for their efforts?

  62. Comment by David C. | 03.10.2014 | 8:06 am

    Beeminder can be a bit confusing. Let me point out a few things…

    1. YOU CAN SET BEEMINDER TO **NOT** ESCALATE YOUR FINES! While having them escalate is motivating you can have them stay a flat $5 time after time.

    2. IF YOU GO OVER AND GET FINED, YOU DO NOT AUTOMATICALLY GET FINED AGAIN AND AGAIN… you have to tell Beeminder that you still want to progress to the goal despite going over, it then will give you a flat week of weigh loss to get back on a newly calculated track (you can even during this time change your goal to be easier if you need a more realistic goal for example) before you would be eligible to be fined again. It’s not “whoops I went over, $5″ then the next day “whoops, I’m still over $10″…

    3. You can CHANGE YOUR GOAL or QUIT ENTIRELY with a weeks notice or anytime you go over and get fined.

    To sum it up, the escalating fines are motivating but at anytime you get fined or you realize you just aren’t going to make it you can stop OR better yet, just change your goal to be more realistic. If you don’t want escalating fines you can turn them off too!

  63. Comment by Kamala | 03.10.2014 | 11:05 am

    How long does it take Beeminder to sync with Withings scale data? I weighed in about an hour ago and the data is in my Withings account and on my connected iOS devices. Thanks!

  64. Comment by Daniel Reeves | 03.10.2014 | 11:10 am

    @David C: Thanks so much for helping answer questions! You’re obviously a veteran Beeminder user. Hugely appreciated!

    Everything you say is exactly right, with one subtle exception. You’re right about the road reseting with a flat spot, etc, so it’s not like you’ll be charged again and again every day if you’re off track. But we no longer wait for you to confirm that you want to keep going after you derail. You can quit anytime, like you say, but you have to explicitly cry uncle (easiest way is to hit the Archive button on the goal). Gory historical details at .

    PS: Fatty actually shows exactly where to click to turn off escalating fines in the post.

  65. Comment by Daniel Reeves | 03.10.2014 | 11:12 am

    @Kamala, it’s normally instant but sometimes the Withings-Beeminder connection flakes out and it could be delayed (though should still show up eventually). Can you email us at so we can check it out?

  66. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » Last Day to Register for Weight Loss Challenge (Plus Helpful Tips) | 03.11.2014 | 10:44 am

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  67. Comment by Wife#OhDearGod | 03.11.2014 | 10:57 am

    So it looks like points reset today? Or have they been resetting daily? I thought that was happening tonight at midnight. I don’t actually care if it’s today or tomorrow by the way, but just pointing it out since the blog says “March 12, everyone’s points reset to 0 and the contest begins in earnest.”

    It’s all good as far as I’m concerned. Otherwise, I know I could manually count on the Beeminder site, but I am guessing FC or the Beeminder peeps already know… so how many people are signed up and thus how much raised so far for our new WBR ambassador? GO HAMMER!

  68. Comment by Daniel Reeves | 03.11.2014 | 11:46 am

    Hey everyone, all the latest questions are answered in Fatty’s new post — — so let’s move further discussion there. Thanks again for the amazing response to this! Game is on!

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