Grandmother’s kilograms


One of the reasons that I feel better this Christmas than last is because I have managed to lose weight.

In the 11 months since the end of January 2016 my weight has fallen from about 88 kg to around 73 kg.

For US readers, that’s a weight loss of 33 pounds, and for older UK readers, that’s about two and a half stone. It is a transformative amount of weight to loose. I feel much better.

I mention it here, because I have showed similar graphs before. For example, in 2011 I wrote “The Mass of Sisyphus” which has a graph of my weight from 1995 to 2011 (Ages 35 to 51)

So I have achieved similar weight loss previously, but previously my weight crept back onto my body. However I don’t have any data about the times when my weight is increasing.

It is like the game of Grandmother’s Footsteps in which children have to sneak up on ‘Grandmother’ but they can only move when ‘Grandmother’ is not looking.

Similarly, my weight seems happy to stay still or indeed to go down, as long as I weigh myself every day. But when I stop weighing myself – it slowly creeps up on me in the most sinister way.

My conclusion is that in order to maintain my weight I need to weigh myself every day.

It is yet another example of the power of measurement: because it is not until one measures a thing that one can begin to understand it, and control it.


The graph also shows the busy year I have had with trips to Canada just before the graph began, India, the USA (twice), Poland, Italy and Spain.

Irritatingly, each trip has broken my weight loss trend.

However another good feature of the year has been running. Compared with 2015, I have increased the distance I have run from about 14 km per month, to around 100 km /month.


Running has helped keep anxiety at bay and happily I can take my running shoes with me when I travel.

This seems to have settled down into a routine, and although it seems quite sporty for a man of my age (57) it takes only just over two hours a week.

And as I have run more, even though I haven’t been trying to run faster, I found I have naturally speeded up.


Looking at the graph I can see that even since July 2016 when my weight has been more or less stable, my speed has been slowly increasing.

So my aim for the new year is to keep on running – and weighing myself every day. And hopefully I will keep Grandmother’s kilograms from creeping up on me!




8 Responses to “Grandmother’s kilograms”

  1. Mary Ann Hagger Says:

    I also find that when I weigh myself every day I maintain or lose weight. This will be one of my New Year Resolutions. Also helps to eat less!
    Very much enjoyed it when you gave us anTalk on Climate Change at our local Ealing U3A. Hope you will find time to give us another Talk on a subject that interests you.

    • protonsforbreakfast Says:

      Thank you Mary Ann

      I am pretty busy in the first half of next year, but feel free to invite me and fix a date.


  2. Nestor Patrikios Says:

    Impressive weight loss Michael and a very respectable pace. I like the analysis too. As you may have noticed, I got hooked on cycling some years back which lends itself to longer efforts than running and calorie usage that makes Sophie very angry (2500 on my Sunday morning ride). So I don’t really have to worry about my weight.
    It also generates a wealth of data (power, speed, gradient, heart rate etc.) that I *will* get around to analysing one of these days.

    • protonsforbreakfast Says:


      Lovely to hear from you. I trust that you and your family are well.

      2500 calories on a ride! Wow! The problem with generating data about one’s life is that analysing and then optimising can use up such a big fraction OF your life!

      By chance I ran into Rod Bateman the other day and he sent his best wishes.

      Happy New Year and All that: M

  3. Carole Hegedus Says:

    Hello Michael de Podesta

    Regarding your weight loss project, for the past 50 years or so I have mostly managed my own weight with what I learned from Professor John Yudkin’s “This Slimming Business”. Despite recommending this same book countless times to my daughters and granddaughters, they are still overweight. Last month I asked one of them why they didn’t use the book. She said she didn’t understand the measurements. Of course! It is all imperial: weights, heights, portion sizes, and growing up with metric the measurements mean nothing to them.

    Just thought you might be interested in this personal example of the importance of measurement and understanding it on a day to day basis.

    I like your blogs. I like your enthusiasms. My husband would have loved to have come across you.

    And if you would like the book, I would be very happy to let you have a copy. It is Penguin, now out of print. In the meantime, will be asking Penguin to reissue an updated version. This book is the sensible basis for any diet or eating plan that works.

    Happy New Year!


    Carole Hegedus

    (BMI 20.6, and I still get weighed every day)

  4. Is weight homeostasis possible? | Protons for Breakfast Blog Says:

    […] My experience is that my weight either increases or decreases over time. What I have never observed it to do in all my 58 years on Earth is to stay the same! (I have written about this before: story 1 or story 2.) […]

  5. 1000 days of weighing myself | Protons for Breakfast Blog Says:

    […] I am sure that if I had not weighed myself daily, my weight would have crept back on considerably faster than it […]

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