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Statistics, Motivation, Syndication, Weight Loss and the Like

Statistics courses are probably my least favorite courses. I prefer simple statistics like batting average in baseball, winning percentage in any sport, unique visitors, etc. In high school I was really irritated that I was batting 7th or 8th and asked to bunt a lot on an American Legion team for which I was one of the better hitters. I had mentioned to the coach once or twice that I should move up in the order but he brushed me off. So I asked him if I could borrow the scorebook after a game one night. The next day I handed him my hand-calculated batting averages, slugging percentages, on-base percentages and other various and sundry statistics that supported my case. I was second on the team in average and one of the top three in most offensive categories. What do you know, that night I moved into the 3rd spot and batted either 2nd, 3rd or 5th the rest of the season. Statistics

I’ve said in the past that I created this site to do the things I enjoy to do. While that is true, I still get excited when people tell me they subscribed to the site or they enjoyed a particular post. It’s especially nice getting random visitors who pop in and say hi through the meebo widget. I don’t advertise the site other than to list it on any social networking sites I go to, or as my away message in meebo . It’s cool to see how many people visit and where they come from. Since most people are not apt to comment or IM, I use Google Analytics and also an open source tool from a small orange, my ISP, called AWStats.

Here are some stats from the month of July, the first full month that was available:


  • unique visitors: 250
  • # of visits: 1,139 (4.55 visits/visitor)


US Overlay

The darker the green, the more visits.



The 25 searches that resulted in visitors ranged from the Travis lyrics I posted in my review (combination of etiquette and charm) to flickr widget searches. Of course the most popular was the search for ‘ahelms’ because the domain is so hard to remember. Apparently many people were interested in Landon Donovan’s throat-slash gesture because 7 visitors in August ended up on my site after searching for a combination of Donovan+throat+slash. The top referring sites are a google blog on RSS that linked to my RSS, Widgets, igoogle post (25), and a WordPress forum (14) on which I posted some questions when customizing the sidebars. I’ve recently got a few referrals from Katie’s blog, facebook, and linkedin.

Most encouragingly, 41 visitors made the site a favorite and there are approximately 15 subscribers to the syndication feed. I am estimating based on IP addreses…haven’t found a fool-proof way to track it.

These are modest stats for sure, but I’m pleased when I consider I just started this thing and I do little other than submit a sitemap to google to make my site show up in searches.

Similar to my American legion team and this site, simple statistics helped me lose 50 pounds.

Weight Loss Statistics

Some time in December or January I realized that I was well out of shape, in terms of the ability to exercise for more than a few minutes and the ever-increasing middle part of my body. I have been able to lose weight pretty easily the last couple of years through exercise and diets, but never as much as I wanted and the weight always seemed to come back. It’s easy to find excuses to not exercise and eat poorly when working and going to school full-time. But this time I reached what so many people now refer to as the tipping point. I decided that being fit and a healthy weight, in my case, was simply a matter of discipline. For the next five months I read hundreds of articles about weight loss, metabolism and exercise and figured out what would work for me.

  1. A supportive partner
  2. Simple Statistics
  3. Results

Thanks be to God, I already have two very supportive partners: God himself and my lovely wife. So I pretty much prayed every day that God would give me the strength to be steadfast and committed to the cause. Donna was supportive because she knew how much I desired to reach my goal and she is a wonderful person. Donna was also trying to lose a few lbs and she came across a simple, fabulous webiste called fitday that merged #1 and #2. Fitday tracked how many calories I ate every day by allowing me to create a log from a customizable database of foods. It also provided some rudimentary statistics and goal-tracking tools. So every day I logged what I ate and my weight. The most I can weigh and have a healthy BMI is 210 so I entered a goal of 200 lbs by June 1, which was approximately 50 lbs less than what I weighed January 1. Every day I logged into fitday and would see a statement like: “To reach your goal, you have to lose 2 lbs per week”. So that is what I did. I lost 2 lbs per week for 25 weeks by eating better and exercising more. Seeing weekly results was certainly motivating. Then I set a goal of 195 for July 4, which I also reached. For the last month, I’ve vascillated between 195 and 202.

Weight Loss Over Time

Once I reached my goal and understood what balance of diet and exercise was required to maintain my target weight, I stopped using the website.

Over the course of the five months my appearance has changed and people have said some very funny things to me, sometimes intentional, sometimes not. People who don’t know me that well seemed to assume that I just decreased my beer consumption. Why that was their assumption, I don’t know. I probably drank 10 beers in 2006. Any way, here are some of my favorite quotes:

At 225, from my sister: “Look, it’s my incredibly shrinking brother.”

At 220, from a friend: “My God, you look…skeletal”

At 205, from someone I just met who was looking at pictures from our trip to Europe last year: “Oh my gosh, I never would have guessed you were so fff…uh, I mean you weren’t fat or anything but…<stammering> You just look so different. I mean, when I met you I just thought ‘you look like a runner’.”

At 200, from a friend and neighbor to Donna: “Wow, look at this stud. You probably can’t keep your hands off him now.”

At 195, from someone I hadn’t seen in awhile but play soccer with regularly: “You look like you’re wasting away.”

The steady stream of comments and looks after losing the first 20 lbs or so certainly acted as a tonic. So thanks everyone for noticing and commenting and if by some miracle, you read this entire novel. Cheers » More visitor tracking fun thanks to said,

September 4, 2007 @ 10:03 am

[…] another visitor tracking tool created by on tech crunch. As I mentioned before, I have been using Google Analytics and AWStats to track visitors.   The new tool is a […]

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