Before those that know me start worrying about my physical and/or mental health. Don’t worry, I’m not going anorectic. I’m doing it for three reasons. First, I mostly do this blog to be helpful, if anyone cares about health and fitness. Most people who read health and fitness information do so to lose weight. So, those reading it might say, “how can you talk, you’ve never tried to lose weight”. I did lose weight when starting my current obsession with fitness, but it was not intentional, just the result of doing the right things. Now I’m going to intentionally try. The second reason is that I’m using an app, “my fitness pal” to record my efforts. This will be an experiment in how that software works, more about that in a minute. The third reason is motivational, for someone my size to lose weight is very difficult. The smaller you are, the fewer calories you burn. If I can do it, you can do it. There is also some curiosity about another piece of software that tracks BMI, waist to hip ratio, and other fitness measures. I want to see what it says about my numbers if I lose a few more pounds.
Now, about tracking software. First, to try and lose weight without tracking would be like trying to build a house without a blueprint. People have done it, it is doable, but oh, so hard. Tracking does two things, it teaches you to measure, ensuring portion sizes, and it shows you what you are doing. Our memories are warm, soft, malleable things. It is so easy to forget those two cookies, the extra spoonful of sugar, or the snack you had on the way home. Writing it all down makes it concrete and visible. It is also an excellent behavior modification tool, unless you are going to lie to yourself. If you have to write down those extra cookies, knowing it will put you over, you might not eat them. Using software has the element of a video game. Here is your target number, get under that and you win. Who doesn’t want to win? I see it as a wonderful tool, although if you are prone to eating disorders, it could be disastrous.
How good is the software? I’m going to try this one for a week or two. If it seems too far off, I believe there are many others to try. Already, I have some questions about it. I put in the two hours of Karate I did last night, and it said I burned 1060 calories. We did not work that hard, I’m certain. Using averages is not terribly accurate. For my strength training today, it asked for specific exercises and the weights used. That should be more accurate, but I hit the “done for the day” button, as it did not figure in the calories burned, and it still hasn’t. I’ll have to see if it totals them then. I would like to see exercise calories included earlier, so eating can be planned accordingly. -I just went to the website, Myfitnesspal.com, they don’t give calories burned for weight training, as it is too variable. That will make things difficult. They allow you to put it under cardio, but just like I think 1060 was way to high for karate, I think 189 for 70 minutes of weight training is way to low.
That brings me to another point. It sets my base calories for weight loss at 1200 a day. Without exercise, there is no way I could do that. I’m just to lunch today and I have 104 calories left! Even if I only burn 400 calories exercising, that is more than enough for dinner.
I currently weigh approximately 117. I say approximate, as a two pound range on either side isn’t that uncommon. I weigh myself weekly at the same time of day. I’m going to shoot for 112. Anything lower than that is distinctly unhealthy for me. I will have to get and maintain that weight for two weeks to count, due to the water weight fluctuations that can occur.
As much as I enjoy playing with the software, the proof will be in the weighing. All my guesstimates will be proven one way or another in a few weeks. I’ll keep you posted.