Finally, A Sure-Fire Way to Lose Weight

Xconomy San Francisco — 

I’m proud to announce that I have just entered my 16th year of trying to lose five pounds. Not many fatties have the perseverance to keep trying to lose five pounds, and failing, for 16 consecutive years, but I do.

In honor of this milestone, my wife bought me a Jawbone wrist bracelet, which miraculously monitors how many steps you take each day. And as a bonus, it also lets you know how long you sleep at night, including light sleep vs. deep sleep.

“How do it know?” I asked my wife as I slipped it on, thinking about the old joke about how the thermos keeps cold liquid cold and hot liquid hot.

“Don’t ask,” she replied. “Just start walking and sleeping.”

So I did. The first day I happened to have a golf game. No cart for me. On the first tee, I sliced my drive into the next fairway.

“Tough luck,” said one of my playing partners. “But I think it’s playable.”

“Are you kidding?” I replied happily as I headed right while everyone else was walking straight. “That’s about 220 extra steps for me. A few more shots like that and those five pounds will disappear once and for all.”

At the end of the round I plugged my Jawbone bracelet into my iPhone (don’t ask how) and announced that I had walked 10,464 steps, which is the equivalent of about 5 miles. If it wasn’t for a couple of straight drives, I could have made 12,000.

Meanwhile, I noticed I had a Jawbone friend request. Matilda, who had shown me her Jawbone bracelet at a dinner party and encouraged me to get one, had requested we become “friends” and electronically (don’t ask how) share our exercise and sleep information. I readily agreed.

The next day I ran into her husband downtown. “Matilda told me this morning how you slept last night,” he said, a bit grumpily. “It’s not something I really need to know. Classic TMI.”

“If it makes you feel better,” I replied, “I don’t think I really slept 8 hours and 42 minutes, like the Jawbone said. “And I definitely woke up more than 3 times.”

I started to compare my sleep with Matilda’s, but he didn’t seem interested in that, either. In fact, he didn’t even care that his very athletic wife didn’t take as many steps as I did on that particular day. So I tried not to gloat.

“I’ll be going to bed late tonight,” I shouted as he walked away. “Matilda will let you know if my deep sleep increases!!!”

I watched him take his steps, sadly noting that they were lost forever because he had no Jawbone bracelet to count them. Meanwhile, I had to get back to my office, and it was two miles, or 6600 steps away. I thought about a taxi, and then I thought about my five pounds. 6600 steps later, I was behind my desk.

The next morning, after noting that I had slept six hours and 55 minutes (with 3 hours and 13 minutes of deep sleep), I eagerly stepped on the scale to note how much weight I had lost.

“HOW COULD I GAIN A POUND?” I cried to my wife as I stepped on and off the scale to double-check. “I took over 24,000 steps in the last two days.”

“Maybe it’s because you ate like a pig last night, and had two beers and a glass of wine?” she smugly noted.

“I was celebrating my impending weight loss,” I explained, knowing she wouldn’t understand. “I was sure the Jawbone bracelet was the final piece of the puzzle.”

Apparently, there’s more to it than just putting on the bracelet. It’s been about two weeks now, and my five pounds are still sitting happily in my belly. I’ve stopped monitoring my sleep, because it’s probably the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen. But I’m still counting my steps.

As I write this on a weekday evening, I’m checking my activity. And I’m proud to announce that I have taken 1158 steps today, meaning I’m pretty sure I’ll break my two week record for all time fewest steps in a day.

Gotta celebrate that with an enormous plate of food and a couple of beers. And while I’m at it, I might as well throw in a celebration of my 16th consecutive year of trying, and failing, to lose five pounds.

Nick Hoppe, born into poverty in San Francisco and the son of a former columnist for the local rag, owns several retail stores and restaurants in Northern California, allowing him to have all the food he ever wanted. Follow @

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One response to “Finally, A Sure-Fire Way to Lose Weight”

  1. Greg Mosier says:

    Ignoring your sleep is a HUGE mistake! Sleep deprivation leads to obesity. Any amount of a sleep debt will lead to eating when you shouldn’t be eating. Came across your article due to a desire to lose weight but the idea of the Jawbone tracking my sleep is much more interesting.