30lbs of Family Visits, Races, and Games
diet and weight loss | food tracking
Julie Price has been tracking her weight consistently for the last four years. In this talk, Julie discusses what she’s learned about her weight and what correlates with weight gain and weight loss. Specifically, she focuses on the role of family gatherings, exercise and running races, and how different food and dieting methods either helped of hindered her progress.
I can make you thin | Saladpalooza
Hi everyone, I’m Julie Price and I started tracking my weight four years ago when I wanted to lose 10 pounds. As you can see that’s not exactly what happened. instead I gained 10 pounds within a 30 pounds range, but all along the way I learned a lot of what was making the difference and what I could do to impact it.
Bringing it up year by year, what happened at the beginning it was going fine, and it all started turning south in 2013. When I looked at what was specifically impacting it, I could see that family visits were a huge impact. Also the number of long races that I ran and the new weight lose tactics that I tried and of what it takes.
I’m going to talk about thee three things, that’s family visits, the long races, and the weight loss tactics that I tried. And in a second you will see a graph.
The family visits are the green bars and what happened was my husband and I travel up the east coast to see our family a few times a year, and inevitably we gain weight. And sometimes they come to visit us, but for the most part we go there, and although it doesn’t tell the whole story it’s significant to accumulate 50 pounds and to try to lose that weight in addition to everything else. So being aware of that was very helpful.
Also I looked at the number of long races that I ran. I ran during this four year period, I ran four full marathons and eight half marathons. And it’s hard to quantify the dates this impacted because the training is continual. But it is clear from looking at where they fall on the calendar that when they are clustered together like they are in 2012, I was really managing my weight very well and I did hit my goal weight at the bottom there.
The running itself isn’t enough to get me and to keep me at my weight. It really is the eating and when I’m running that much and I’m in that racing mindset it’s also a lot easier to make healthy food choices.
Another thing worth noting is right after a full marathon with the exception of when they were back to back, right after a full marathon I always gained a little bit of weight. And part of that is that I have to take a rest from running and recovery, but also that there’s that mindset of okay, I can relax now, which sadly means that I can eat bad food.
So during this time I was also running and I was trying a lot of different things to lose weight. These are some of the things I tried but it’s not everything, but these are the ones that either made a big difference or that I learned the most from. And the first one that I’ll tell you about is a game that I made up called, five fruit and veggies equal a prize. And so what I did is for every day for 50 days I had to eat five fruits and vegetables. And if I did it I would move forward, and if I fail I would roll a die and whatever number was on the die I would add to the 50.
And I actually surprisingly couldn’t count to five every day. It was really hard so I’d use an app. So I used an app to my counting of five, and what happened was it was fantastic. I lost eight pounds, the world was good, and I was happy and so I thought this was great I’m going to do it again.
So I tried it again and the second time what happens is the novelty wore off pretty quickly. I didn’t last very long at all, and it reminded me that somethings are only going to work once because it’s the novelty that really gives it its power and that’s what happened in this case. So after I did this I was looking for something new to try to play off the novelty, and I tried this app from a hypnotist called, I can make you thin. And it sounds pretty ridiculous but I really did like his philosophy. And it worked for a few days, and after a few days I noticed that there was this one button that you’ll see in a second, and the button says panic.
And the idea was that if you’re kind of stressed, overwhelmed by food, and your about to eat the cookies or whatever, you push the panic button and he talks you off the ledge. And I though that’s really awesome I have to push this button, and why aren’t I pushing the button.
So I made it my only goal. My only goal was just to push the panic button, and I never did it. so it was really just an interesting reminder of hot thinking versus cold thinking. You know all these articles we read every day that say, don’t eat the cookies. Go for a walk, take a bath. You know, it’s useless if you can’t even just push a button and how are you going to do anyone of these other things.
It was also another should. You know, I should push the button. I wanted to push the button. I didn’t do it.
So this was the next game I made up. It’s called Saladpalooza. It was very very simple competition with friends and family and we got points for eating salad. And at the end the winners would get an Amazon gift card. And what happened is what always happens when I tried things like this; it faded very quickly. So I’ve done, tried, experimented with tons of different gamifications, word systems, blah, blah, blah. And they either backfire or just die on their own is what just happened here.
So this is my favorite product. It’s called the kitchen safe and I don’t know if you guys have seen it. But it’s amazing. You set a timer for chocolate, so that inter dialog you have in your head about should I eat more chocolate it doesn’t happen because you do not have the chocolate, it is locked.
So when I use it it is amazing, I love it. I bought it for everybody, but the problem is that it’s another should. Should I lock up my chocolate all the time, don’t do it all the time. If I am not locking it up it is just a place to store my chocolate.
So these are all the different things that we’ve talked about so far, but there one large swing that I need to talk about and that was sadly a bit of a rut. Sadly my weight had gone up and I felt really badly so it snow balled. At the same time my husband’s weight wasn’t great. His chart is different than mine but it wasn’t great. He said you need to make up something; we need to do something to lose weight. So that’s when I made up something new, and that was that grey area and it was a game called the road to skinny city.
And so the road to skinny city, you play it by travelling from the fat farm to the skinny city, and so what was really cool about this is I’d start telling friends, hey, we’re playing this game and everybody wanted to play.
So I started playing in May and been iterating for six months because everybody wants to play this game.
We have a variety of daily challenges, and we create our own rules, and there’s a whole lot of game mechanics that are involved and it’s been going really well. So far I’ve lost 10 pounds fairly quickly, and I have been derailed recently (06:34 unclear) but I expect it to continue on a downward trend. The social dynamics does help and I’ve learnt from the novelty and keep changing up regularly. And it’s been going so well and it’s lasted the longest of everything I’ve tried, that we are actually building it, and building it with a partner into a web app and will be testing it soon and that’s pretty exciting.
So basically in summery I’ve learned a lot about family visits and I’ve learnt how races help, they don’t solve the whole problem but they have definitely have helped. Also the novelty factor has been reminded that certain things are only going to work once. And also I’ve been reminded there’s somethings I should do, want to do, and never going to do. And over simplified game mechanics, they don’t work all the time. And also I’m reminded of my goal which is to keep learning and to lose more weight and keep playing skin city. So, here’s my contact information. I’m always interested in beta testers or collaborators (or feel free to reach out for anything? 07:35).