My Fitness Pal
It's time to fit back into our pants.
I'm not pointing fingers...I just can't possibly be the only one not fitting into my favorite pants right now. (Second favorite...my sweat pants are fitting just fine, thank you very much)
My first & usual place to start is www.myfitnesspal.com. This is not for the half hearted. It is time consuming in that you have to return to the site multiple times a day but the end result of true consistency is incredible. I have an inspiring friend who can attest to that. For the less committed, it still serves as a motivator and it's a good kick off.
The general idea is to create an account, enter your current weigth & how much you want to lose. The system calculates the appropriate amount of calories for you to consume daily & breaks your calories into protein, fat & carbohydrates. For a vegetarian such as myself, my love affair with carbohydrates is no secret. But to see how quickly I used up my daily quota was eye opening (and depressing...I love you bread!) It encourages me to choose wisely (measure out my cereal) or make other choices (scrambled eggs are pretty delicious). Awareness is half the battle.
For your convenience, there is a database filled with popular food choices & name brands which supplies the nutritional information. And...if you eat many of the same foods, you can add these to a favorites section, which speeds up the process. As you can imagine however, home cooked meals take a little more time. Especially if your cookbook or recipe doesnt help you out. Even so, there is a handy section to create a recipe card, enter the ingredients & save for future usage.
What I love about this site is the connectionof consuming calories to calorie burning. Since they have predetermined the amount of calories you need in a day, you gain extra calories to use by burning calories. Let's say you run on the treadmill for 30 minutes, you can add 130 extra calories to your intake. It may seem like I'm only interested in working out in order to eat more bread...and well, I am. But it can work in the reverse as well, accidentally ate 3 bowls of cereal (it happens)...make up for it later in calorie burning. And you're still on track! There is a database to pull from for cardiovascular & strength exercises.
Unfortunately, the site only looks at the total exercies & calories consumed on a day by day basis. Meaning that it will not take the date from a whole week to see how you did. It would be nice to have a "bad day" and to follow it up with a "good day" to average across the week. This is probably my biggest criticism.
I wouldnt say this is a revelation, more like a good reminder...you don't have to be jogging on a treadmill to burn calories. Not until I selected "cleaning the house- vigorously, 250 calories" did this start to register with me. Sweet, because I did eat three bowls of cereal & I don't have time to go to the gym. You'd be surprised how many calories we burn shoveling a driveway. My thoughts are this...we overwhelm ourselves with monotonous, over ambitious exercise plans. And usually we fail or feel like we're failing. I feel motivated to rebel from the hum drum routine & burn calories whichever way suits my schedule, my pocketbook & my creativity ...whether it be in daily tasks or an extreme sport (don't ask me what I mean by this but it sounds fun) or the "newest thing". I realize that this life style approach to fitness is not for everyone. And there are cases where a strict regime is necessary. But it doesnt hurt to be adventurous. Try new things...burn some calories...have fun along the way.
My ultimate plan is to involve others in on this with me...meaning that I can spend time with people and actively live healthier. My longtime friend (and professional ballroom dance instructor) would love to spend a saturday afternoon belly dancing with me (and I suppose ANYTHING is worth trying once. As long as I'm dressed in sweatpants ha) & what a healthy Friday night ice skating on a double date (here is looking at you sweetheart). I'll be keeping track of what all I find to do & am open to suggestions!