Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Yesterday, Mutsumi in our office told me half a dozen times that I looked "bigger". I'd been thinking about how to lose some weight and I remembered Fat Club because Jane linked to a Fat Club entry on her blog. For some reason, I seem to be able to motivate myself to lose weight when I'm competing. I asked everyone in our office if they wanted to join Fat Club 2004. Kuri, Jim and Nob agreed to participate. The race is to see who can lose 10% of their body weight first and sustain it for one week. The last one in has to be a slave to the winner for a day. Slave rights can be sold or rented. We decided to set up a private wiki to organize this event.

Mizuka bought a fancy scale awhile ago hinting that I should probably lose some weight. I jumped on it this morning and it told me that I had the body of a 49 year old. (I'm 38.) The fancy scale uses Bioelectric Impedance to measure your body fat and calculates basal metabolism, body fat percentage, muscle percentage, internal body fat level, your body mass index and your body age equivalent. Let me just say it was very motivating. This new scale has 6 contacts, two for your hands and 4 for your feet and seems more accurate than some of the older models.


I wish I could join your competition. Just started a new diet and exercise program yesterday. I've gained so much weight in 2004 that my hamster even offered to let me use her running wheel. Good luck.

"The first rule of Fat Club is: you don't bring munchies."

Good luck gang!

hah. I remember your last "losing weight" post. I was so jealous, since at that time I had been kicking around the idea. I bit the bullet in Feb of this year and in the 6 months since then I've lost 50lbs, or 20% of my weight, and now have a BMI of 24, down from 30.3 when I started. And it was easy!

My secret was to eat less and exercise more (by bicycling again). I count calories to some extent (both to make sure I'm eating enough and to limit excess), but I don't avoid healthy fats like plant fats, I just mainly avoid empty calories in eg. soft drinks and all junk foods that don't give me good protein boosts or have too much sugar.

One thing I think is important is to not lose more than 1% of you bodyweight/week. Any faster than that is simply not sustainable, and you're probably losing too much muscle along with the fat.

So this racing idea is wrong, wrong, wrong. You should have a 10-week commitment, and those who come closest to 1%/week each week should win.

may I recommend Joel Fuhrman's The Eat to live Diet (UK version 0749923865). It helped me to get down from 90 kg to 78 in 6 weeks. If you don't love veggies and fruits it's a torture (abuse, in newspeak). It's based (as I see it) on a simple thought: we are used to measure cals per 100 g, this diet measures nutrients per cals. I believe it's the only rational diet available.

Troy, I know it's wrong... The problem is, I've been trying to gradually lose weight and I couldn't motivate myself. Also, the last time I lost weight I was able to keep it off until a few months when it started really going downhill and I sort of gave up. The other thing is racing is FUN. ;-p Anyway, I have a feeling it isn't as wrong as continuing to get fatter, although I have had people argue this with me.

But congrats to you and Hans for your success.

I am shopping a good exercise gym near the office - I like a healthy way to lose weight, so I ate a good amount of lunch today :)

Nob - Enjoy that big lunch -- I'll start lining up things for you to do when you're my slave for a day...


I'm with Joi - moderation never works for me either. My body just adjusts and finds new ways to gain weight.

I actually can gain and lose weight noticeably without much effort, so a few "extreme" methods should help me to ace this contest. :-)

My recommendations:
No alcohol, especially beer.
No Diet Coke. (Believe me, you'll drop a bit right away.)
Cook your own food - avoid prepared foods and restaurants. Use good ingredients.
Never ever eat or even snack while the TV is on.
Light calisthenics in the morning (Radio Taiso!)
30 mins of physical activity a day.

And... listen to your girlfriend, Jim :-D

Slave rights can be sold or rented.

Having made slave labor tradable is a shrewd move. Should you lose the competition, you can always settle your contract with a financial payment... Physical delivery of the commodity to a colleague in Tokyo would indeed be troublesome if you happened to be overseas on the contract's due date... What's coming next ? A full-fledged derivatives market where your Neoteny colleagues can trade options and futures on Joi's slave services ? ;-)

MostlyVowels (BMI 22.8)

If I ever go back to Japan, rule #1's gotta be STAY OUT OF THE AM/PM!

I personally don't think there is any 1 right way for everyone, but I do think there are plenty of wrong ways. I was spectacularly happy with my 1kg/week loss rate, and just hope to encourage others to approach their goals with an eye on the longterm -- losing 4oz of muscle for each 12oz of fat is a real bad deal.

gambatte kudashai!

joi, going to the desert for a week will help... -_^

jim's right on the money with cooking your own food. i lost a LOT of weight that way and i still have it off (even though I haven't cooked my own food in ages!) only stuff yourself when it's your own cooking. otherwise, eat until you don't feel hungry.

i'm interested in buying rights to a slave. where's the ebay auction?

Joi, you might try the supplement 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) - a precursor of serotonin. It reduces appetite somewhat.

Joi, I haven't checked this entry....I believe I motivate everyone in our office to very healthy body! I hope all you guys will join a skinny club soon ;P

Ok, so I wish you guys the best of luck--now its been a month so maybe your on the way there, but also wanted to tell everyone here that the 1-2 lbs a week weight dropping concept is STUPID. I was at 5' 8" and 220 at the start of the summer (June 1) and by august 20th, I was at 167 lbs, and 12% body fat! I averaged about 5-6 lbs of fat loss a week. Never felt sluggish, and actually felt better than I had in more than a year! I did one of those low carb, low sugar, low fat diets, and it worked great. Really hard to do w/the will power, but if you can make it work, then its worth it. By the way, its now 1.5 months later and my body fat is LOWER(10%) and I have gained 5 lbs of lean muscle mass from weight training and cardio every day except for saturdays.

My point is that the competition will really help motivate you guys and that you CAN healthily lower your weight at a MUCH greater rate than what everyone says is safe. (I think they say to go slow because they think that people won't be able to keep at something intense.

I wish you guys the best of luck, and hope you get your goals

Actually, it's been a year and a month. The entry was written in 2004.