Diet by App (March 11)

What have I lost so far?  Appropriate given today's lesson!

Our “What have I lost?” picture is appropriate for the failures cited in this post!

This is the 200th post to appear on Cranky Man’s Lawn!  Thanks for reading! – Mike

A disappointing week …

Dropped only 0.6 lb., getting down to an even 232 from 232.6 on March 4.  Although this is a disappointment, at least I know it’s not the “Lose It!” app that failed. No, it was the definitely The App-ee!

I am playing a bit too coy and calculating with my calorie limit; thinking at times that I have “all these unused calories” to burn through, so why not enjoy a temptation or two.  As a result, I end up pushing up to the edge of the calorie limit, then beyond it in my over-exuberance to enjoy my over-abundance of under-utilized venial sin demerits.

(A word about our “What have I lost?” picture of the week … I was surprised to find out, what used to be a 5 lb bag of sugar has lost 20% of its weight!  When did this happen?  And did the PRICE come down 20% too?!? 

Yes, I’m being facetious!)

As a result, this past week showed me 350 calories over my calorie limit (1999 cal) for the week, where I had been between 150-800 calories under budget my previous 3 weeks.  The worst part is being over budget on 5 of the 7 days!

Not good …

Part of the trap here, I think, is the mind game you play when you rely on the exercise credits Lose it! allows.  You start bargaining with yourself.

“Hey, we’re 600 calories under for the week …”

“PARTY!!”

No, the “bargaining” didn’t take long at all.

An ostrich egg (right) also weighs in at about 4 lbs.

An ostrich egg (right) also weighs about 4 lbs.

This is still an education for me.  Even in failure you should learn something about yourself or about whatever it is you seek.

I’m still learning.

So, I will endeavor to maximize my under-budget calories whenever possible, even if it means eating fruit, nuts, and tree bark instead of the my usual guilty pleasures.  And now that the weather is turning for the better, get some exercise on days when I don’t hit the gym.

Here’s hoping for greater strength and a bit more progress!

Diet by App, February 22

What have you lost for me lately? a Malayan Flying Fox!

What have you lost for me lately? … 2.5 lb. Malayan Flying Fox

First weigh-in since buying the Lose It! app. Down 2 pounds to 234 (Start weight: 236). Probably closer to 2.5 pounds had I entered my starting weight properly (236.4).  About what I expected, in view of my learning curves.

One trick learned is the ability to push over-budget calories into the next day.  Some might say this is “cheating”; but it helps me handle the ups and downs easier.  First, it relieves some of the guilt and dietary pressure when you wander (i.e. bull-rush the feeding trough) off course.  Second, you get the chance to make good on your wandering without forfeiting whatever progress you have already made.

This week the program was complicated a bit further when I chalked up another year on this Big Blue Marble.  So sorry, Ms. Lose It! … Chocolate-frosted, yellow birthday cake trumps Diet App every time …

… along with the Imperial Wolf Fish dinner at Bonefish Grill, accompanied by several adult beverages forced upon me by several non-diet-conforming family members. (Which is why I love them!).

Also found that by pushing some of those over-budget birthday calories into the next day, ….

a) didn’t feel like committing seppuku the day after my birthday splurge;

b) could manage my “wild” birthday craziness by a little budget-cutting sacrifice the following day; and

c) still end up 322 calories UNDER budget for the week!

Tasted better than he looks

Tasted better than he looks

Solved the problem of accurately entering (to the best if one’s ability and time) the nutritional and caloric data from home-cooked meals and restaurant dining.  By googling a meal, like my Imperial Wolf Fish dinner (450 with the au gratin potatoes), you can usually find a comparable meal described and valued for entry in the Lose It! app.

Don’t obsess over being down-to-the-calorie completely accurate.  Close enough is good enough.  Found several menu/nutrition websites that listed my Bonefish Grill meal.  It wasn’t an exact match, if looking at a picture might indicate, but close enough for government work (favorite adage).

So far, so good …

Diet by App

iphone_handAfter years and years of fighting the urgings of friends and family, I have finally stopped resisting The Forces of Nature (Electronic) and sheepishly joined The Legions of The Empire.

Yes, I got an iPhone for Christmas!

So now I am finally plugged into to an even more convenient  electronic umbilical, whose benefits in the past I have steadfastly questioned as unnecessary, more costly, and therefore unwelcomed.  My old flip phone now lies as silent and as dormant as a February lawn.

My days of wondering how the outside world survived without my uninterrupted electronic availability are as far off as the hair of my long ago youth.  I feel as I imagine Neo would, had he decided to swallow the Blue Pill instead of the Red.  All I’m missing is a set of quick-connect cable ports.

Yet I have to admit, there are a lot of neat features to owning my Portal to The Matrix.  There is indeed an App for Everything!  Some are silly and superfluous, if silly and superfluous resides in the eye of the beholder.  Some are fun to have, as I have fallen for a few of its games and gimmicks.  And some appear of significant benefit!

Most recently, I have become smitten with a weight loss app, appropriately named Lose It!

Over the years I have tried any number of diets in one form or another.  The Atkins/South Beach/We-Hate-Carbs, the LowCalorie/LowSugar/LowTaste, the JennyCraig/SlimFast/LeanCuisine …

They all worked for a while, and then they didn’t for one reason or another.  Usually because I just lost interest and motivation.  One factor in my inability to commit to a lesser me was the gut feeling that I didn’t know what I was doing; had no EASY way to figure out how I was doing; and had no interest in PAYING someone to lead me through it.

(EASY being an obvious requirement when I find eating much less aggravating than trying to figure out whether WHAT I was eating was actually helping or hurting.  Having to lose weight is annoying enough, even when you KNOW your health would improve; but having to WORK at it was … Well, it’s just plain annoying times two!)

Now before you get to thinking this is a Lose It testimonial; I have only been plugged into this app for about week.  So Success is a long, long way off.  But since I sometimes have difficulty coming up with brilliant insights and marvelous story-telling with which to fill these pages; I thought I would invite you all to follow my journey to a Lesser Mike.

It MIGHT be fun.  It could – like so many of my other dieting attempts – end up being a colossal failure.  If Vegas had a line on this little venture, I’d bet the Under (achievement).  If nothing else, it will be informative and – most likely – whiny, petulant and full of self-pity/loathing/flagellation.

From time-to-time I will let you in on how I’m doing; what I’m doing; and what the results look like.

For what more could anyone ask?!?

Here’s the point from where I started roughly a week ago as it appears in my Lose It! profile:

Starting weight:  236

Goal Weight:  200

Plan:  Lose one-and-a-half pounds a week

Daily Calorie Budget:  2,020

Goal Achievement:  August 3, 2013

Other considerations:  I get to the gym at work at least 3 times a week, concentrating on cardio/calorie burning through elliptical and treadmill machines and throwing in core exercises (for golf and lower back) or light weight work.  This usually allows me to burn somewhere between 250-350 calories a day.

So, what’s to like about the Lose It! app?

The app is oriented towards caloric intake, with goals broken down by Day and by Week; so if you have a Bad Food Day you can see immediately what it does to your program.  Intermittent stumbling is inevitable, especially when you combine Me with Diet!  So if you have a very bad Diet Day, you can adjust your next day(s) activities and food intakes to get your noncompliant self back on track.

Some of Lose Its features include:

  • a wealth of nutritional information on a broad range of foods and food products
  • a bar-code reader for purchased ingredients and packaged food products that makes inputting caloric data easier than attempting to divine said data from your 10th grade class on nutrition
  • feature that allows you to create and save meals and their nutritional and caloric values for repeated meals
  • an easy-to-complete profile that allows the dieter to enter baseline data and goals expressed as pounds lost by week
  • a graph that provides a visual picture of weight progress (dieter input of weight)
  • daily log of foods eaten and a rolling total of daily calorie intake
  • daily calorie budget, along with front-page display of how your budget stands for that day and week
  • more graphs on nutritional breakdown and weekly calorie budget
  • a Friends connection for group motivation

The app will store those foods and meals you select in a menu similar to your iPhone Contacts format for easy repeat usage.  (I found it relatively easy to gather information on first-time meals not included in the Lose It! app by simply “Google-ing” the basic content of the meal, and looking for a nutritional website containing the necessary data.  Once you build and enter the data, the app will store it for later use if needed.)

The feature I love most is the ability to calculate and value the calories burned through exercise, work, and simple everyday activities.  The list of activities is about as all-inclusive as possible.  You can find a broad range of workout activities and get calorie credit for such activities as gardening, golf, lawn mowing (a favorite of Cranky Man’s Lawn … duh), house cleaning, snow shoveling and … ahem … sexual activity!

Many of the activity choices allow you describe the level of vigor with which you pursue said activity, with accompanying levels of calorie credit.

In the end, I’m sure this – like any other weight-loss program – depends on the will and loyalty of the dieter.  But from my point-of-view, Lose It! takes a lot of the guesswork out of monitoring caloric intake and effort output that many health professionals recommend as the way to shed excess cargo.

I just like that it makes it easier for those of us who disdain uncertainty and the constant research required to achieve that sense of knowing what one is doing.

Here’s hoping I found something that will work with me as well as for me!