Weight Loss Update: One Good…I Mean REALLY BAD…Weekend Can Spoil Everything

04.14.2014 | 1:06 pm

I’ve been planning to do an update on the Fatty / Beeminder Weight Loss Challenge for a while now. In fact, I was excited about it, because while it’s not like I’m high up on the Leaderboard, I’ve been doing really well. I mean, check out my progress on my Beeminder chart:


As you can see, I’ve been dropping weight, nice and steadily. Sure, it bounces around a little from day to day, but I’ve been staying on the yellow brick road. And for the past few days, I’ve even been on the low side (which is the “good” side) of the yellow brick road. 

In fact, I had hit my halfway point: 164 pounds. Nine down, nine to go. 

Thus, I had every intention of doing a little boasting today. 

Spoiler alert: there will be no boasting today.

Disaster (AKA The Hammer’s Birthday) Strikes

Last Saturday was The Hammer’s birthday. She turned 46. Now, I know some of you are thinking, “What are you doing, revealing her age on your very public and award-winning blog?” 

Well, if The Hammer were normal, that might be a problem. But she’s not normal. Not even remotely. 

For her “birthday party,” for example, she wanted to go on a big mountain bike ride. So we did. A 41.7-mile, 6,000 feet-of-climbing mountain bike ride. 

The Hammer got seven new QOMs. And she looked like this afterward. 

IMG 8378

When you can ride like that and look like that at age 46, you don’t need to hide your age. 

Anyway, after the ride, we decided that between it being her birthday and the big ride we had just done, we deserved to go out to eat. So we went to one of our favorite restaurants, Settebello, where we met The IT Guy and ordered the following:

  • A Caprese salad
  • An Insalata Grande
  • Focaccia
  • A Margherita pizza
  • A Settebello pizza
  • A Vico pizza
  • 3 Diet Cokes. Seriously.

That is, for three people, a lot of food. But, you know, we had ridden hard. We were hungry. It was — as I have mentioned –The Hammer’s birthday.

So we didn’t feel too badly about it.

Then we said goodbye to The IT Guy, and drove back from SLC to Utah County, where we decided that — just this once — we deserved to get dessert.

So we went to The Chocolate.

Usually (yes, we’ve been there a few [cough, cough] times before), we split a dessert: almost always a white chocolate macadamia nut Cazookie, which is a giant fresh-baked cookie in a pan of its own with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

But it was The Hammer’s birthday.

So we each — and I am not exaggerating — got one of our own. 

And that was stupid. 

By the time The Hammer got through about half of hers, she was done. She pushed it aside, not feeling great. 

So I finished hers (along with mine, of course) for her.

Disaster, Part 2

The next morning, I told The Hammer, “There is no way I am going to step on the scale today. I just don’t want to see the bad news.”

As it turns out, I probably should have stepped on the scale. Perhaps a small dose of bad news would have served as a reminder that there’s no such thing as consequence-free eating for me.

In which case, perhaps I would have skipped eating the cake and ice cream at The Hammer’s family birthday party that evening. 

Or at the very least…I wouldn’t have had seconds.

And I probably would have avoided snacking on the (very delicious) leftover saffron-and-butter rice as I cleaned up the dishes after dinner.

Oh, how I wish I were making any of this up.


Which brings us today, and me getting back on the scale. Allow me to show you how that looked in Beeminder:


See that tiny red dot waaaaaaay above the yellow brick road? That, my friends, is what a 4.6 pound jump looks like. 

Yes, over the weekend, I gained 4.6 pounds. And as you can see, that puts me two pounds off the yellow brick road. And I have ’til midnight tonight to get back on it, or pay the $5 fine. 

Will I do it? I really don’t know. I will tell you that I am currently quite hungry. And that I furthermore had an awful lot of caffeine this morning, which facilitates rapid (albeit temporary) weight loss in at least a couple of ways I’m aware of. 

But there is a silver lining, if you can call it that. And that is this, The Hammer’s weigh-in for today:


You know how they say “Misery loves company?” Well, that is never more true than when you have a sudden and sharp weight gain. 

And while her gain puts her into — as opposed to below — the yellow brick road, that’s still a 4.2 pound gain. Which doesn’t exactly take away the sting of my embarrassment. 

But it certainly helps.

PS: For those of you who are doing the challenge: How’s it going? Anyone else having monster weight spikes following a night on the town?


  1. Comment by saltz | 04.14.2014 | 1:29 pm

    friend from high school in town, despite a 85 mile, 7,000 ft of climbing ride saturday, the french fries and chicken fingers at 1:30 am and the beverages preceding, friday, saturday and sunday night resulted in 6.6 lb increase. wish my scale went to the hundredths so I could have seen 6.66.

  2. Comment by PNP | 04.14.2014 | 1:38 pm

    The good news about spikes like that is that the weight will fall off just about as quickly as it came on. And yes, I speak from experience.

    A minor brag: while I didn’t sign up for the challenge, I decided to use Beeminder for my own weight loss. (Love love love Beeminder, so thank you.) I’ve lost 7 pounds in two weeks, and I’m delighted. I have a loooooonnnnnngggggggg way to go, but it feels great to look at that chart and get instant gratification in the downward trend.

  3. Comment by Dave T | 04.14.2014 | 1:45 pm

    I’m finding it doesn’t take much to start going the other way just one large meal can cost me a few lbs. In early April, a Birthday celebration and a few to many bottles of wine over a weekend cost me about 4lbs. I’m trying to make up for that by riding more miles we will see if that works.

  4. Comment by Bart the Clydesdale | 04.14.2014 | 2:37 pm

    This contest has me stepping on a scale in a way I have not done since I stopped wrestling after my freshman year in college. I can no state forcefully that I hate attempting to control my diet as a middle aged man as much as I did as a young man. I now gradually lose instead of yoyo my weight, but I have avoided the dreaded spike. Maintaining the new low point will be the challenge, one I may not even attempt to complete.

  5. Comment by Christina | 04.14.2014 | 3:21 pm

    You know what you need?

    A good solid poop.

    I’m hoping the caffeine helps that.

    I also imagine you’re a little puffy from sodium.

    I’m another one who didn’t join this, but joined beeminder in a free, no money, challenge and love it. I plan on donating double what this would have cost me to WBR (in The Hammer’s account, of course) because I’m doing so well on weight loss. I find traveling puts me up a pound or so and it takes a couple days of normal eating to level back out quickly.

  6. Comment by J | 04.14.2014 | 3:34 pm

    4.5? Sorry to hear, FC. I don’t have a scale at work or at the house anymore so I can’t say I consciously know how you feel, but I feel like it. The other day I put my undergarment on while standing in the mirror. Now that was a tad day. I swear that washing machine is shrinking my boxer-briefs! But I have an excuse: Several Weeks Without Biking. That sounds like a sad book title of my life. Hit the saddle and drop that weight!

  7. Comment by UpTheGrade, SR, CA | 04.14.2014 | 4:12 pm

    My weight loss goal is to get down to where you started, 170 lbs. That’s a drop of 16 lbs. I haven’t lost an oz so far, despite an increase in my riding and substituting egg whites for a regular meal every other day, and trying to watch what I eat.

    A couple of parties and a few days of being too tired to cook and feeling “I rode hard today so I can afford to eat out” has undermined my best intentions. I guess there really is no room for eating what I would like anymore. Its hard because I feel ravenous all the time. So watch out on the trails, if you run into me, I might just bite your head off ;-) (just kidding)

  8. Comment by steventoby | 04.14.2014 | 4:59 pm

    I have been battling respiratory issues all winter long. I have received three steroid injections since February and have been placed on a steroid inhaler for the foreseeable future. I have been worried the steroids would derail my weight loss plan. I have had to make spectacularly drastic adjustments to my diet in order to stay on track. But so far, it’s going pretty good. I’ve managed to catch, attack, and gap Fatty in the standings!

  9. Comment by Brian Ogilvie | 04.14.2014 | 5:07 pm

    I’m not doing the challenge, but I have noticed massive weight gain when I throw caution to the wind and have a great dinner out. Sometimes it will be as much as 4 lb. in one day. I think it’s mostly two things: extra food solids and retained water due to the salt in most restaurant foods. It’s gone in a day or two. If you’re using Beeminder, though, it can be a pain to have to lose that weight quickly.

    I find that running is a great way to temporarily lose weight: I went out for a 5.5-mile loop today and lost about 2.3 lb–and I drank 8 oz. of water before the run but after weighing myself, so my total loss was 2.8 lb., some of it glycogen and fat, but most of it sweat and urine. It helps that I sweat like a horse.

  10. Comment by Al Pastor | 04.14.2014 | 9:10 pm

    Sooo glad I didn’t do this. Too much biznes travel. Last week in Boston. Passed hors d’œuvre (spell checking FTW!) Bacon wrapped scallops, little lamb medallions, other high fat tasties. Open bar (not great wine/beer, but ok). Ribeye and potatoes for dinner.

    That’s not what killed me. One of my friends/co-workers/enemies had some special bourbon. A generous helping of that and I was hanging around the bar with some friends singing while they played guitar. The piece de resistance was some other co-worker bringing a dozen cannoli back from some bakery in the North End. Nom nom nom.

  11. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 04.14.2014 | 10:29 pm

    It’s hard to feel sorry for @DaveT. At the Tierra Bella Ride this weekend he admitted he’s gone from a LARGE to a medium sized jersey, and he just ‘looked’ at the desert option of ice cream and cobbler. Gain on Dave, gain on.

  12. Comment by Robert | 04.14.2014 | 11:42 pm

    With The Hammer looking as she does in that picture, I don’t understand why she needed to join a weight loss challenge in the first place. :)

    I also just had a sinful weekend in Luxembourg and France with lots of good food and serious amounts of Belgian chocolate. Right now everything is bliss since I did not step on the scale yet this week. Actually with around me having only a bit over 70 kg (154 lbs) at 178 cm I could afford it, only thing is that the new weight goes to the belly only. ;)

  13. Comment by Shugg McGraw | 04.15.2014 | 5:37 am

    Never mind. Your lawn is looking lovely.

  14. Comment by mjcutri | 04.15.2014 | 7:11 am

    I have noticed that consuming any type of alcohol will cause me to jump more than anything. If you look at my graph in beeminder, you can almost see each weekday vs weekend day by the direction of my dots. (March madness weekends were especially tough for me, since those are essentially 4 day weekends :)

  15. Comment by Damon Gene | 04.15.2014 | 9:32 am

    I hit a milestone Friday night…first time under 200 pounds in over half a year…and celebrated. Which was stupid.

    I lost my lead, and pretty badly.

    Back on track today before I go off the rails entirely. I’m disappointed in myself, but not giving up.

  16. Comment by GeistOnABike | 04.15.2014 | 1:34 pm


    Yahoo should be giving you credit for this story I just saw:


    Avocado and eggs – isn’t that the patented Fatty Special?!

  17. Comment by spaceyace | 04.15.2014 | 3:52 pm

    Found out very quickly, on the first weekend of the challenge, that consistency is key. Even after a tough MTB ride, a celebratory giant burrito is not ok. Now I eat right on the weekends too. Staying hydrated is important so I don’t retain water.

    The last couple weeks have been tough, but I am pretty proud this is the first tax season in my entire career I didn’t have a net weight gain!

    After tonight’s happy hour (no judging, I deserve it), I imagine I’ll have a spike, but after that it is all downhill from here.

  18. Comment by David C. | 04.15.2014 | 4:41 pm

    Well my goal is to lose 20.6 pounds and I have been trending in waves. Eating better and starting my solid training schedule for a May half-marathon saw me lose a bunch of weight the first 2.5-3 weeks and get way, way below the yellow road. I also got really hungry. I have been eating 1200 base calories + exercise burn so it varies 1200-2000+ depending but I did better to track my calories those first few weeks. Then came the kids spring break. I still avoided all sweets, snacks, deserts etc. but I pretty much started eating too much in volume. Bam, pretty big weight jump at the end of that week. Not enough to derail me but enough I felt like I lost the “opportunity time” of that week plus the week’s work before. I got back with the program and quickly lost the extra weight and a bunch more but then 2 weeks later I am starving and again start eating too much volume (still pretty healthy). Bam the cycle repeats. I am now on the very lower edge of the yellow road but I used to be pretty far below. I would love to smooth the path for myself but it is hard to nail down a smooth loss… I seem to go from really motivated and losing rapidly (too rapidly) too starving and losing ground.

    I AM STILL ON TRACK TO REACH MY GOAL but eating is still a challenge I am trying to master. see my page at: https://www.beeminder.com/b737officeview/goals/fatty and my user name is canyonblue737

  19. Comment by Liz M. | 04.15.2014 | 7:45 pm

    I’m right on track, but I’m on vacation at the moment and have no idea how the scale here aligns with my own at home. I could be in for a rude awakening when I get back home.

    Hmmm, come to think of it . . . 50 mile bike ride tomorrow, anyone?

  20. Comment by Daddystyle | 04.16.2014 | 7:16 am

    Man, I hate it when that happens.

    That said, a couple days and a solid dump or 3 and bam, lost 4 lbs in 3 days.

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  22. Comment by The Cyclist | 04.16.2014 | 11:18 am

    Wrong! When you look like that at 46 you actually need to hide your age. At least from ppl in the same age as you or they might kill you… out of jealousy.

  23. Comment by rol | 04.16.2014 | 8:56 pm

    I recently got the flu, which to me means “all you can eat until you feel well” I also stopped riding for 2 weeks. It’s all gone down the drain I can tell you. And with Easter looming……

  24. Comment by David C | 04.17.2014 | 8:43 am

    Not to shame you Fatty but what happened to your over data point? I was curious if the next day you were back on the yellow path and now it appears you were never over? ;-)

  25. Comment by Daniel Reeves | 04.17.2014 | 10:58 pm

    @David C: It actually only plots the minimum for the day, so, yeah, Fatty eked back onto the yellow brick road.

    Now I’m wondering if we should have it plot all the datapoints instead of just the min, so Fatty’s shenanigans would be apparent for posterity. That’s actually an option for custom goals but we could totally turn it on for fatcyclist goals if folks think we should…

  26. Comment by Carl | 04.21.2014 | 9:41 pm

    Yes, this is a cruel contest…

  27. Comment by Gabi | 05.1.2014 | 1:34 pm

    This post just made me miss Utah. I love Settebello.

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