Ten years of the Line Diet

In early 2006, I was working a suit-and-tie job in the beauty industry, and I felt fat. Well, really, I was fat: I’d climbed back to the highest weight of my life, matching my high in the winter of 2001. That first time, it resulted in a two-week crash diet to fit into a tuxedo for a wedding, which led to six months of powerful weight loss, and I found myself thirty pounds lighter and thrilled.

In ’06, I lacked some of the motivations I had five years earlier, but I still wanted to work on my weight. I decided that I’d keep myself honest by weighing myself every day. And I put my weigh-ins into an Excel spreadsheet when I got into work each day so I could visualize my progress. I put “challenge” in the filename as an encouragement.

I’ve been jotting down my weight ever since, and in the same Excel file throughout. In 2009, a website and app called the Line Diet popularized this method of dieting, but I just kept at my spreadsheet, adding a fresh tab every now and again, and noting my weight whenever I stepped on the scale. I’m still at it: my last weigh-in was on Wednesday, and it’s in the file.

The other day I realized I had accumulated a full decade of health data in one place. So I pulled my charts into a single sheet to see how I’ve done with my weight.

The most interesting thing to me is that it’s not very interesting. I haven’t had any truly aggressive diets in a long time, so the recent years lack the big drops I had early on. And when my weight gets out of hand, I tend to abandon the scale, so the high end of my data is muted. (There’s interesting stuff hiding in there, though. For example, if you look closely, you can find the blank section where I went off the rails and gained 16 pounds in four months.)

The weigh-ins I do have show that I’ve basically stayed in the same 15-pound band for the past ten years. Not bad! And since my last truly heavy stretch, I’ve managed to lose more than 10 pounds and keep them off. This calendar year, in fact, my weight has tracked steadily downward.

More importantly, while I haven’t gotten back to skinny just yet, I’ve done well at keeping my weight in check. As of Wednesday, I was back within 10 pounds of what I weighed when I graduated high school, 25 years ago—not yet the slender guy from 2001, but a pretty good place to be. And thanks to my trusty Excel spreadsheet, I’m motivated again to try and get there.