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There are all sorts of gizmos, gadgets, and fads as it relates to weight loss. We all know that and each of us probably has a story or two of some purchase we either regret, or are embarrassed to admit, because it was one of those too-good-to-be-true panaceas.
So often we enjoy a bit of comedy about those of us who try different things and approaches, especially Americans who are among the most overweight of world citizens yet spend millions and millions upon exercise equipment that often gets used more by the owners closets than the actual owners themselves. But I’m never one to criticize to trial.
Different things work for different people. And, sometimes, it just takes a lot of trial and error to figure out what is going to work for you.
I don’t particularly like fad diets or fad equipment with unmanageable claims and unrealistic testimonials, however much we want to believe the “I can get rich and gorgeous overnight” shticks. I think we can all agree that the simple and effective premise is burn more calories than you consume and over time you’ll lose weight, feel better, gain greater levels of energy, and just feel better.
Certainly, much has been learned over the past few years about nutrition and this has a bearing on success. My personal belief and what I TRY (try!) to adhere to is a whole foods diet, comprised as much as possible of locally grown produce (organic whenever possible) with lean meats while focusing on foods that also carry a low glycemic index (though I’m sure someone will catch me from time to time sneaking a Top Pot donut). I just know this approach works for me, and it’s nutritionally sound (BTW, let me recommend a great book: Michael Pollan “In Defense of Food”).
The eating plan I’ve used with the greatest amount of success is the South Beach Diet–despite
the name, I don’t think it’s fad-ish at all, in fact it’s a really simple concept and its biggest downsides are probably time and expense (it takes time in preparation and it does costs considerably more than a $1 box of Mac and Cheese to eat fresh whole foods, though it’s also not cost prohibitive).
So I’m a big fan of finding the tool that works for you–I don’t think people can be pushed into a specific corner and must rigidly adhere to this exact style of meal plan, and endure this specific a workout. Part of this is about finding out what works for you. Then, of course, the other part, is simply doing it.
Which is exactly what I’m trying to do personally. My physical goal for the year is to have 15% bodyfat by the end of June of this year. I started out QUITE a ways away from this, far enough away that I’m embarrassed to share the number, and while I’m much closer today I still have a good ways to go. So I’m trying to kick it into higher gear so I make my target with some time to spare and so it doesn’t require a binge of sorts (which isn’t good either).
One of the tools that I’ve found and used over the past month is an Apple iPhone application called “Lose It”, which also happens to be a FREE download.
And I “Love It.”
The reason is simple. It gives me daily accountability on my caloric intake, since I add all of my meals and snacks into the daily planner. It keeps tabs on me day to day, and week to week, against my targeted progress of weight loss. Beyond this, though, it also lets me log my exercise. And it offsets the calories I burned due to exercise against my daily allowance. So if I want to go for that glass of red wine, it’s an easy reminder that I’ve got to offset this somehow–either via reduction in other areas, or working out. And if I blow it one day, like I did yesterday (we went skiing and the matter exceeded my mind–before I knew it I was eating half a cheeseburger and some chili with cheese–which led me, along with a few other indulgences, to be OVER my daily allowance by 700+ calories–even after accounting for the calories I burned while skiing!!!) I can still see my progress for the week and work to offset the damage I did yesterday by eating well today and working out.
So today I “undid”, to a degree, the damage I did yesterday by being 700+ calories under my daily limit. It’s not a good practice to do this habitually for a lot of reasons, but if you have an off day like I did it really helped me figure out what I needed to do to get myself back on track again. And it’s a good reminder for me next time the consequence I have to pay by indulging at that moment of weakness.
Throughout my daily logs for the past month here’s what I’ve learned about myself personally as it relates to my wellness:
I can’t do it without exercise. It’s impossible.
At least for me it is.
EVEN IF I’m eating really well, without the exercise I’m still right around my daily allocation of calories (~2,200). But what happens is I’m usually still hungry at the end of the day and I’ll be frustrated with my progress because the results are not tangible enough–forget the fancy graphs, I can feel the lack of progress in my clothes, see it on my face, and feel it in my energy levels (despite consuming huge quantities of Xtra, it’s still not exercise in a bottle).
So I have succumbed to the very realization, which most of us already know but still sometimes need to prove to ourselves, that in order for me to achieve the level of wellness I want I simply have to work out.
Lose It is also a great reminder for me, that for some people this little tool can really help. Yet for others, this is just another worthless gadget that will go in the metaphorical closet and collect dust. But you don’t know unless you try, and then most importantly stick with it.
There’s a great exercise/fitness writer named Clarence Bass (www.cbass.com), he’s really quite talented. And I remember him stating in one of his exercise books the simple idea that if you can just get one or two ideas out of someone’s written work than that’s a victory, take what you think makes sense and leave the rest. That concept has really changed the way that I’ve read and studied, or listened to speeches or lectures, etc.
In the worst of moments, 95% of it might, indeed, be worthless and mind numbing. But amidst that time there might be 10% of something really noteworthy and a learning moment. Then, as my dad would say, “Grok the fullness”, and you’re all the better for it.
So today I’m laying claim to “Love It” for the program “Lose It”, which not only has helped get me back on track but has also given me a new appreciation for the ways that tools can help assist on the way to managing ourselves to a better, and healthier life.