I’m in love with the MyFitnessPal app

Diet scaleEver since my first child was born, I’ve been heavier than I like. I’m still fairly trim, but I am no longer slim. Even four and half years of martial arts didn’t change that. I became well-muscled, but not slim. Since my knee problems started, I’ve stopped exercising, but I didn’t change my eating habits.

When I couldn’t lose weight, I told myself two lies. The first lie was that my metabolism had slowed significantly with age and pregnancies. The second (and this was a whopper) was that I didn’t eat much. I’m a nosher, and so I just grazed all day, constantly telling myself that I was having “just a little bit.”

A friend of mine bemoaned her weight as well, although she’d always been more honest with herself about her role in her weight. Last week, though, she told me, “I’m finally on a diet that’s going to work. I am going to lose weight.”

Naturally, I was intrigued, and asked her about her certainty. She told me that she’s got a new app, free, called “MyFitnessPal.” The beauty of this app is that it’s incredibly easy to calculate calories eaten and calories burned doing exercise. It begins by asking you to put in your current weight, your fitness regimen, and your weight goal. It then calculates how many calories you should be eating per day.

My friend is right. MyFitnessPal is easy, especially because I can use it on my phone, iPad, and desktop, meaning I’m always near something in which I can enter my data and track my progress. No matter what food I’ve eaten, MyFitnessPal has information about its calories and nutrition. It’s endlessly scalable so, if I eat a third of a slice of Cello Variety Pack cheese, I can enter precisely that amount and get calorie data.

MyFitnessPal allows me to enter my recipes, and it will calculate the recipe’s calorie and nutrition content, ingredient by ingredient. If I exercise, it allows me to calculate roughly how many calories I’ve burned, which it applies to the calories I’m supposed to eat for that day. At the end of the day, MyFitnessPal will tell me how much weight I would lose in 5 weeks if I kept to that given day’s regimen.

For me, seeing the data play out in real-time is astonishing. It turns out that it’s not that my metabolism has slowed that much. Instead, I’ve been eating roughly twice as many calories per day as I should. If it weren’t for my metabolism, I’d be a butterball, five feet wide by five feet tall.

I think that, for once and for real, I’ll be happy to find a weight that’s comfortable for me — more than I weighed before babies, but significantly less than I weigh now.

If you’re looking to lose weight, I highly recommend MyFitnessPal.

Experts push for Orwellian maintenance over Americans’ health

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is one of the best and most important books ever written. This is not hyperbole. It’s as close as one can ever get to an objective statement about a novel.  In addition to Orwell’s lean, elegant prose, it is impossible to imagine a more insightful or prescient book about the nature of a truly socialist government.  Except for failing to include mass starvation, Orwell accurately predicated just about every aspect of North Korea.

One of the powerful imagines George Orwell created was a sense of being under constant scrutiny and control.  Poor Winston Smith, doing his government-mandated physical exercises in front of his government-mandated two-way television, was stridently scolded for failing to implement properly his government-mandated “jerks.”  (I’ve never quite known what those “jerks” were, but I assume that they were push-ups or jumping jacks.)

Two-way television, of course, was an unheard of idea in 1948.  Now every iPhone has it, and every computer can have it.  The future is the present.  Oh, and the bit about having the government modern every individual’s lifestyle and health choices?  We knew that was coming down the pike when the government passed ObamaCare.  The government that controls your health care controls you.

One aspect of health care, of course, is weight.  Despite the fact that studies show that “obese” people can be perfectly healthy, our betters and wisers in the worlds of academia and politics want to slim the government health care budget by slimming you — and they think that coercive government force is a good way to achieve this goal:

Federal agencies should step in if industries that promote high-calorie foods to children do not implement common nutrition standards within two years, the influential Institute of Medicine (IOM) said Tuesday.

The recommendation came as part of a 478-page IOM report on the U.S. obesity epidemic that outlined broad policy changes the panel says are necessary to stave off a healthcare crisis.

The changes are aimed at a complete overhaul of the United States’s “obesogenic” environment, the panel wrote.

“People have heard the advice to eat less and move more for years, and during that time a large number of Americans have become obese,” panelist Shiriki Kumanyika of the University of Pennsylvania said.

[snip]

“The average person cannot maintain a healthy weight in this obesity-promoting environment,” she said.

Strategies like a possible soda tax and new zoning laws to encourage walking and biking are designed to “reinforce one another’s impact to speed our progress,” said panel Chairman Dan Glickman, a former secretary of Agriculture.

The food and beverage industry, as well as its marketers, must cooperate or face possible federal intervention on issues like childhood nutrition standards, the panel warned.

Ace treats this idea with the disdain it deserves, but I’m not sure his voice of reason is being heard outside the Church of Conservative Ideology.

I do wonder, though, if there isn’t a good political campaign to be made of reminding people that Obama’s going to take away their ice cream cones, sodas, hot dogs, and hamburgers.