Chili Festival

Chilifest 2011 Review of Fat Diminisher

It is Fat Diminisher Friday so I might as well be a 55-year-old flexing BadAss! I know some people get tired of pictures of me, but it's what I do now. It's how we get the messages out and reach out to people.

I am all about health into older age, quality of life, and everything we can do in our power to make that happen. I work my butt off doing all the things. People may not understand what I am really about, and it does not matter because I only have so much time left to do my thing. I try to keep it classy, and every once in a while I have to show off my abs or biceps or back muscles, and I know it intimidates people.

But so far I'm living proof that it can be done. And I'm living my passion and will go out at the end with no regrets. I'm insecure a lot. It's hard. I'm constantly on the edge outside of my comfort zone.

And yes the insecurity and fear makes me hungry and stressed and want to eat the house down like everyone else. And those dang hot flashes and insomnia from menopause hormones! The essential oils and all the stuff everyone uses do not help me. We are all different. Life is not fair.

So we all just keep powering through, day by day, minute my minute, step by step. Even me. It is freaky hard. We only have so much time left. Time is fleeting, and it sifts through our fingers like tiny grains of sand.

So the time is NOW. The time is always NOW. Before it's too late.

girl lost weight

Be careful about the 900. It works okay for people with a lot of body fat, but not so much when you get down to 20% body fat or so for most females. We learn the hard way that you can't make up for the McFlurry and chocolate cake in one day. It's always the slight consistent deficit that works in the end. The low days cause the peaks to go higher, and that is what hinders people the most. Trust me I see this day in and day out, and it's the biggest setback for the hundreds of women I deal with daily.

One diabetic participant who uses a continuous glucose monitor mentioned she noticed that her blood sugar spikes when she eats peanut M&Ms-which she usually does on stressful mornings. She compared her glucose monitor data to her Fat Diminisher blog and her calendar to match up what was going on during those spikes and discovered the connection. She also noticed that her calorie intake was less on days she drank coffee. She noticed that she tends to eat more on days when she works out-reflecting this idea that ”I feel like I should be able to eat more on a workout day.” She tended to have a snack before working out to help reduce the chances of seeing low blood sugar, but she didn’t think from the data that the snack was warranted if she didn't snack, her blood sugar didn't get too low, so she was thinking of adjusting her plans. Tracking helped her increase awareness of her patterns.

Angie and I noted that this idea of wanting to eat more on workout days is a very common trap many people fall into when trying to lose weight. From recent research, it seems to come from the idea that people see exercise as effort or painful or work, and the relatively pleasurable act of eating is the reward they give themselves to compensate. Here is one link about it, which mentions research by Brian Wansink.

One person also looked at Fitbit sleep data. He also mentioned that he had exported and looked at several months worth of his Fitbit data but was disappointed that they didn’t have to rest HR available to export through the Fitbit web site. He was interested in looking at his heart rate during different fitness classes and noted that once he took a yoga class and his Charge HR picked it up as “restless sleep.” I mentioned that resting HR is available via the Fitbit API, and you can sign up for a free Zenobase account to get access to that.

Another participant mentioned that adopting an activity tracker helped them recognize their relatively sedentary days and they liked the social aspects of family members also having activity monitors, which helped motivate them to be more active together. Family members would walk a lot on the weekends to get their step totals up, and it motivated them to exercise as a group.

Another participant used the Full Fitness app and found that tracking her data helped her to be more compliant with her exercise routine. The app offered some new exercises to try, and it helped her that it recorded the last weight used. She found that it took some time to get used to using it, and the first time was a bit frustrating because searching for exercises took more time than she had anticipated. The second time she set up her routine ahead of time, and it went much faster. I mentioned that I always set up my workout template of the exercises I plan to do in the app I use, often while walking to the gym.

One attendee asked about a single app to rule them all-one place to collect all these various data types into one dashboard or summary. SHealth (Samsung Health) and the Apple Health app were mentioned as possible data collection tools. They are a step in the right direction but not geared towards strength training or detailed body fat data collection, I noted. Apple Health export wasn’t super the last time I checked, but you can use third party apps like the free QS Access app to export your data from the Apple Health app. There are often connections between apps that let you link (for example) calories burned from Fitbit and weight data from Withings app into your MFP account on

Then we went through some details of how to get your data out of Moves, Fitbit, MFP, and other apps into CSV or Excel files that can be consumed by various visualization software packages. I have done the work to figure out how to get my detailed Fat Diminisher log data into a text file and parse it using the software we develop in my group, and I clean up the data so I can use it in graphs. This is the most time-consuming ongoing data project that I have, but I find it to be worth doing for me.

Last week I went to Amsterdam for our European JMP Discovery conference. I felt quite lucky to be able to have an uneventful trip in both directions. I went to talks at the conference and spoke to customers, had more time than expected to walk around the city, was able to visit the Anne Frank Museum, and ate way more than my fair share of croissants. But I came back down 3 pounds from all the walking and got in 3 workouts while I was there, so overall I considered that part a win. The hotel had an agreement with a gym connected through a hallway/walkway, it was not the hotel's gym but was free to me.

The whole time I was there, I only saw one woman going any weight training that wasn't ab-related, and it turned out to be a colleague's wife. The trainers had women doing side crunches, twisting weighted medicine ball throws to the trainer, and ridiculous nonsense like that. The woman doing that one had a ridiculously tiny waist, and I was thinking why would you do anything oblique-related to ruin that??? I just put on my earphones and did my usual routine, and no one bothered me. I wanted to give the trainers a piece of my mind about women and weight training, but I didn't have the time to get into all that.

At the conference, I presented an e-poster on my workout data, which was quite fun! The primary purpose was to show our software users how to create different types of graphs and custom maps that they could use in dashboards, but it gave me an excuse to play with my workout data and learn some cool things about my patterns over the years. At my first Discovery poster presentation in September 2014, I shared what I learned from my activity monitor data ( and turned my September 2015 talk from Discovery in San Diego into a poster this year. After doing both talks and posters, I like the e-posters better. They are a great format because the presentation is informal and you get a shareable document afterward.

I do want to post about some other topics, but that will have to wait till next time. I have been working on getting rid of the winter fluff-getting my weekend social eating under control and getting in more cardio. A split workout is working for me to get in more workouts per week. Have a great day, all!