Are Weight Loss Success Stories Reliable Even If True?

Let’s face it. Fad diets are popular. That’s how they become a fad to begin with. And a lot of these diets will actually work for you to some extent. A number of them are even backed by some pretty serious scientific studies. Unfortunately, weight loss studies tend to have one severe limitation that I will discuss here. And for the same reason, even most honest weight loss success stories have serious reliability issues. Forget about scams. I mean even honest and accurate weight loss success stories have their limitations.

The main flaw of weight loss studies and related success stories is the period of time that they cover. You have to understand human nature to understand why the length of time is important.

When someone gets motivated to lose weight and either participates in a weight loss study or buys a book or otherwise starts a weight loss program, that is the exact time that someone is likely to have enough willpower to actually follow a diet plan. This is why people often do see positive short-term results from a weight loss plan or even a fad diet. This is a period of high motivation. In such a period, you are more likely to follow a diet that you don’t actually like. You will often reason that you can sacrifice for now and eat those vegetables because it is only temporary.

However, these same people who start a diet in a period of high motivation don’t always maintain that level of motivation. And this is when they fall off the wagon and start gaining weight again. This could be in a month, 6 months, or even a year.

So there is a good reason you should be careful about reading weight loss success stories. The vast majority of them give examples of short-term results. I have kept my weight off for over a year just on this blog and through all types of experiments. Heck, I even recently improved my results with the snacks-only diet. But I am not even convinced that one year of keeping weight off is enough. But it’s certainly better than the “lost 5 pounds in 3 days” and “lost 20 pounds in a month” stories.

Scientific studies have the same problem. Some of them cover only a few weeks or months of results. There are some better ones where the guinea pigs are tested for 6 months or a year or maybe even more. At least those have a little more reliability. But is even a year enough?

Studies do have other issues, as well. Do the participants try harder on average because they know they are participating in a study? Also, what do average results mean for you? They don’t mean a lot because you could do better or worse than the average. The value of a professional scientific study is to show the potential for a plan to work. It’s still going to be up to you to get at least the average or typical results, and that depends on a lot of factors.

Whatever you say about studies, success stories are typically even less reliable since it is only one person. I fully admit this with my Pentamize system. I have only tracked my results. But the idea of my system is to individualize a diet and exercise plan, NOT to prescribe a rigid set of rules that you may or may not follow.

In short, one of the main reasons fad diets work on a short-term basis is that the dieter is typically in a period of high motivation at the beginning of embarking on this new weight loss journey. But if and when that level of motivation falls, which often happens with rigid diet plans, then the dieter crashes and burns.

Trying to follow a rigid diet plan is not necessarily a good approach to permanent weight loss and maintenance. This is going to depend on whether you can adapt to that system on a permanent basis. Can you envision following that diet plan forever? When creating the Pentamize system, I tried to make it as nonrigid as possible. There is no food you can or cannot eat and no exercise that you must or must not do. Rather, you learn to balance diet and exercise until you find a permanent plan that works for you.

Update After 16 Days On Snacks-Only Diet And 20 Days Including Off Days

Today’s update will go over 2 categories of statistical results. The first set consists of the first 16 days when I consciously stuck to the snacks-only diet. The second set is comprised of the same 16 days plus 4 additional days that did not follow the snacks-only diet. 2 of these were cheat days, and 2 were semi-cheat days. A semi-cheat day is one where I let myself go a little but still attempt to maintain a modicum of discipline.

The really great news is that I lost weight even when including the 4 off days. Also, among the 16 days of the snacks-only regimen, I only exercised twice. We are talking about someone (me) who has worked out almost every day for 2 years, with a good percentage of those days being 90-minute runs. This is a mammoth change from that perspective.

I did not do all those 90-minute sessions out of a desire to exercise that much. It was out of necessity, as my old diet would frequently see my weight increase 2.0 kg and sometimes even 2.5 or a little more. I’ll say the average was about 2.0 kg. (it varied depending on various short-term changes). Now, what is my typical weight increase in the first 16 days of testing the snacks-only diet? I did increase 1.9 on one day, but the typical max increase has averaged about 1.3 kg. That difference of about .7 kg is making a huge difference.

Note that a max increase of 1.3 is not the total increase. The total would be much higher than that. Weight goes up when you eat and back down again when you are not eating. Then, it goes up again when you eat and drifts back down before the next meal/snack. I focus on the max increase in an effort to stay as close to 0 as I can while still getting enough to eat. When I increase to a max of about 1.3 kg, that has been resulting in a slight average weight loss (see below for stats).

The approximate difference of .7 kg has not necessarily resulted in a net additional loss of .7 kg. It doesn’t really work that way. But before, it was odd to lose weight on a break day, and I gained weight on most of them. Now, I have totally reversed that and am at a net weight loss even with little exercise. This is the huge difference. I am maintaining and actually even losing a little even with almost no running (only 2 sessions in 17 days and also no running the other 4 days where I cheated or had a partial cheat day).

In 16 days, I have lost 2.0 kg, for an average of .125 kg per day. However, this average does go down to .05 kg per day for days with no exercise. The 2 days with exercise helped a lot, as I lost 1.3 kg of the total of 2.0 on just those 2 days. It should be noted, though, that the days right after these exercise days have not been good. I am tracking this to see if there is a negative effect the day after exercising. So far, I gained .5 kg on those days. But even deducting that from the 1.3 kg lost, it would still be a loss of .8 kg on those 4 days (2 exercise days and the 2 days after), for an average of .2 kg on those days.

I expect to lose some weight when exercising. That is the easy part to figure out. The real issue for me is whether I can get close to breakeven with no exercise. That has been a big success the first 14 days with no exercise.

I gained a lot of weight on the 4 bad days, which is why I was actually .1 kg over at the end of the 4 cheat/semi-cheat days (in the 2 days since then, I am back under the starting weight with 2 good days). But that only means I can’t be taking so many cheat days. 4 days like this in 3 weeks is obviously too much. I prefer to have only 1 or 2 cheat days per month. If I do that, I would be doing much better. But even with the 4 bad days over this period and only 2 days with exercise, I have lost .4 kg overall, reducing from 79.0 to 78.6 kg. With all these cheat days and almost no exercise (2 hours total), I am actually losing weight. The results are far better than anything I would have expected.

Today’s Weight-Loss Results Nicely Capture My Approach To Diet-Exercise Balance

Day 503

This is the day after my birthday, which turned out to be a partial cheat day. However, I did manage to gain only .2 kg, so the damage was not too bad. It was probably mostly due to the fact that I ate the bulk of a pizza and a coke at close to 9 at night. If I had eaten that earlier in the day, I might have actually broken even since there would have been more time to digest everything.

Today, I was just hoping to at least lose the minimum. I have either broken even or gained weight days in a row. At 3 or 4 days of not losing weight at all on any of those days, I do start to get concerned that something may be wrong, and that usually has something to do with my diet since my exercise activity is pretty consistent (jogging almost every time).

Lately, there has been an issue with my diet in that I have increased 2.0 kg or more several times. My Danger Zone mark is still 1.8 kg, so it’s not really a surprise that I have gained some weight the past few days. There isn’t much of a secret here as to what I need to do. To put it bluntly and clearly, I need to eat less. Today, I finally did that.

With only 1 or 2 small snacks left to go the rest of the day, I found myself in great position, having increased only from 78.5 to 79.5, or 1.0 kg. That is phenomenal, and I did not starve to do this. But I was just less hungry today. I don’t know why, but the same level of hunger just wasn’t there.

I ate one more small snack and increased about 1.5 kg on the day. That set me up nicely for a potential very big weight loss after the morning run.

Unfortunately, it was really cold in the morning, and the gauge was saying -8 degrees Celsius, which is 18 degrees Fahrenheit. That is pretty darn cold, so I thought about possibly not running. Add to that that my ankle is still hurting pretty good.

I waited a bit, went to the bathroom again, and was at 78.8. That was only .3 kg above the daily starting weight of 78.5. I could have ended it there with a weight gain, but that would have seemed like a big failure. With the cold weather and my ankle, 90 minutes of jogging did not seem like a good option.

The essence of probably almost any weight loss or maintenance plan is to get the right balance of diet and exercise. Today, my diet was excellent and put me in position to lose weight with exercise, but certainly not with no exercise at all. Looking at 78.8, I could see that approximately an hour of running would allow me to lose some weight. I opted for 70 minutes to try to lose just a little more.

The results were good, as expected. While I did lose only .7 kg during the session, that was still enough to get down to 78.1. That was a daily loss of .4 kg. This time, a very good diet result allowed me to cut 20 minutes off my max run of 90 minutes and still lose weight. Without Pentamize tracking, I would have just been guessing. With Pentamize tracking, I knew I could cut out 20 minutes of jogging and still lose weight. Diet-exercise balance is the key, but what allows me to do that is Pentamize tracking.

Results Through Day 63

Day 1 – 90 minutes – lost .2 kg – 76.8 to 76.6
Day 2 – 70 minutes – gained .2 kg – 76.6 to 76.8
Day 3 – 64 minutes – gained .2 kg – 76.8 to 77.0
Day 4 – 89 minutes – lost .2 kg – 77.0 to 76.8
Day 5 – 75 minutes – gained .3 kg – 76.8 to 77.1
Day 6 – 90 minutes – gained .5 kg – 77.1 to 77.6
Day 7 – 90 minutes – lost .9 kg – 77.6 to 76.7
Day 8 – 90 minutes – gained 1.5 kg – 76.7 to 78.2 (cheat day)
Day 9 – 90 minutes – lost .1 kg – 78.2 to 78.1
Day 10 – 90 minutes – lost .7 kg – 78.1 to 77.4
Day 11 – 90 minutes – gained .2 kg – 77.4 to 77.6
Day 12 – 90 minutes – lost .4 kg – 77.6 to 77.2
Day 13 – 90 minutes – lost .4 kg – 77.2 to 76.8
Day 14 – 90 minutes – broke even – 76.8 to 76.8
Day 15 – 90 minutes – lost .2 kg – 76.8 to 76.6
Day 16 – 90 minutes – gained .6 kg – 76.8 to 77.2
Day 17 – 90 minutes – lost .2 kg – 77.2 to 77.0
Day 18 – 87 minutes – lost .1 kg – 77.0 to 76.9
Day 19 – 84 minutes – gained .1 kg – 76.9 to 77.0
Day 20 – 0 minutes – gained 1.7 kg – 77.0 to 78.7 (combined cheat day and break day)
Day 21 – 88 minutes – broke even – 78.7 to 78.7 (odd cheat where I actually broke even)
Day 22 – 90 minutes – gained .2 kg – 78.7 to 78.9 (partial cheat day)
Day 23 – 90 minutes – lost .6 kg – 78.9 to 78.3
Day 24 – 90 minutes – gained .2 kg – 78.3 to 78.5
Day 25 – 0 minutes – lost .2 kg – 78.5 to 78.3 (break day)
Day 26 – 90 minutes – lost .4 kg – 78.3 to 77.9
Day 27 – 0 minutes – gained 1.6 kg – 77.9 to 79.5 (cheat day and break day combined)
Days 28 and 29 combined – 0 minutes – gained .3 kg – 79.5 to 79.8 (one cheat day, one partial cheat day, and 2 break days)
Day 30 – 90 minutes – lost 1.3 kg – 79.8 to 78.5
Day 31 – 0 minutes – gained .3 kg – 78.5 to 78.8 (break day)
Day 32 – 89 minutes – lost .6 kg – 78.8 to 78.2
Day 33 – 90 minutes – broke even – 78.2 to 78.2
Day 34 – 90 minutes – lost .8 kg – 78.2 to 77.4
Day 35 – 90 minutes – gained .3 kg – 77.4 to 77.7
Day 36 – 90 minutes – lost .5 kg – 77.7 to 77.2
Day 37 – 80 minutes – gained .3 kg – 77.2 to 77.5
Day 38 – 90 minutes – gained .1 kg – 77.5 to 77.6
Day 39 – 90 minutes – lost .3 kg – 77.6 to 77.3
Day 40 – 90 minutes – lost .1 kg – 77.3 to 77.2
Day 41 – 90 minutes – gained .2 kg – 77.2 to 77.4
Day 42 – 60 minutes – gained .3 kg – 77.4 to 77.7
Day 43 – 87 minutes – lost .3 kg – 77.7 to 77.4
Day 44 – 90 minutes – gained .8 kg – 77.4 to 78.2
Day 45 – 90 minutes – lost .8 kg – 78.2 to 77.4
Day 46 – 50 minutes – gained .3 kg – 77.4 to 77.7
Day 47 – 86 minutes – lost .5 kg – 77.7 to 77.2
Day 48 – 90 minutes – lost .6 kg – 77.2 to 76.6
Day 49 – 86 minutes – gained .1 kg – 76.6 to 76.7
Day 50 – 89 minutes – gained .3 kg – 76.7 to 77.0
Day 51 – 90 minutes – broke even – 77.0 to 77.0
Day 52 – 90 minutes – broke even – 77.0 to 77.0
Day 53 – 70 minutes – gained .2 kg – 77.0 to 77.2
Day 54 – 90 minutes – lost .3 kg – 77.2 to 76.9
Day 55 – 90 minutes – gained .7 kg – 76.9 to 77.6
Day 56 – 90 minutes – gained .1 kg – 77.6 to 77.7
Day 57 – 90 minutes – gained .3 kg – 77.7 to 78.0
Day 58 – 60 minutes – lost .1 kg – 78.0 to 77.9
Day 59 – 90 minutes – broke even – 77.9 to 77.9
Day 60 – 86 minutes – broke even – 77.9 to 77.9
Day 61 – 45 minutes – gained .4 kg – 77.9 to 78.3
Day 62 – 90 minutes – gained .2 kg – 78.3 to 78.5
Day 63 – 70 minutes – lost .4 kg 78.5 to 78.1
gained 1.3 kg (5 cheat days, 3 partial cheat days, and 6 break days)
minutes saved from max of 90 – 991
4855 minutes total
average run time – 77 minutes

Post By Email Testing

Jetpack’s Post By Email is a really handy feature. But the main problem I am having with it is that I try to compose an email in Rich Text that includes some HTML with text and image links, but the links only appear in blue. The image is not visible. I can’t figure out how to get the image to actually show up as an image and the hyperlinks to appear as hyperlinks. Instead, they just show up as blue cllickable links, with the HTML appearing as plain text. This won’t work for publishing to actual human beings.

I am trying a partial workaround with this email. I will attach the image using Gmail’s attachment feature, but the problem with this is that I need to use some specific HTML links. Changing that HTML is against the program’s rules, so this can’t be done unless your only real purpose is to show an image that is not clickable.

I am sending this by email and will see if the cookie shows up in the WordPress post and in the Facebook post.

The second part of this test is to use the Gmail Insert link feature to see if it appears as a clickable hyperlink in WordPress and Facebook. The link is below.

Sample Hyperlink

Peace Onesie

This is from our peace collection. I am a Zazzle affiliate.

This is from our peace symbol collection. This one is in the Arabic language, but you can choose any language from the collection that you want. We have over 100 languages in this collection. I am a Zazzle affiliate.