Changing body weight

One of the best things I did this year was to keep a weekly log of our hockey players’ body weights (h/t to our head coach).

Hockey players take their training seriously, and they each have an ideal body weight they’d like to play at. I don’t often suggest what it should be — they know better than I do. We keep the log so they can be aware of how much they weigh. It turns out this is as brilliant as it is simple. For instance. . .

Example 1:

In their book Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is hardChip and Dan Heath explain a study done with hotel maids. One group of maids read about how many calories they were burning while doing their daily tasks — scrubbing, vacuuming, etc. The other group of maids read something unrelated to the experiment to serve as a control.

The maids that read about burning calories actually lost weight by the end of the study. The control group didn’t.

Example 2:

This one comes from Tim Ferriss’s The Four Hour Body, a story of how a guy named Phil Libin went from 258 lbs to 230 lbs over the course of two years:

“He (Libin) weighed himself naked every morning at the same time before eating breakfast. He stepped on the scale a few times and put the average of the results in his Excel spreadsheet.


It was pure 100% awareness training, nothing but tracking.

In fact, Phil made a concerted effort not to change:

‘I actually made a conscious effort not to deviate from my diet of exercise routine during the experiment. That is, I continued to eat whatever I wanted and got absolutely no exercise. The goal was to see how just the situational awareness of where I was each day would affect my weight. I suspect it affected thousands of minute decisions that I made over the time period, even though I couldn’t tell you which.'”

Keep track of what you’d like to change, or fail.

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