My Weight Loss Helpers

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Losing weight has been at the top of my list of things to do, but nothing really seemed to click for me.  I used to enjoy working out at the gym and would be there almost every day.  An hour of cardio on the treadmill, elliptical, or rowing machine, and then an hour of free weights to cool down.  Then life really started in the form of my first job after college and the days at the gym disappeared.  Gained a little weight, but not too bad yet.  Then I moved out on my own and that's where the slide downhill picked up speed.  It became too easy to just eat and be lazy.  Meals were a lot of convenience foods.  Couple that with hypothyroidism and everything just sucked.  Losing weight just became too hard for awhile.

I can't really pinpoint the moment that it all got to be too much for me to ignore, but last month was it for me.  I'd had it.  I had to do something.  I wanted to start liking the person I saw in the mirrow again and I wanted to enjoy dressing myself instead of getting frustrated when my "fat" clothes became my normal clothes.

In came my first helper...My Fitness Pal.  I had actually used it a few years ago and loved it, but it became hard to continue when I couldn't have my cell phone on me all the time.  For now, I don't have that issue.

My Fitness Pal (MFP for short) is essentially a calorie tracker.  What I love so much is the super easy method of tracking.  Their food database is enormous and I can add new foods by scanning barcodes or inputting it by hand.  I can even input my own recipes ingredient by ingredient and save them for future use.  Here was something I could use easily and keep at.

Since I wanted to jumpstart the weight loss wagon, I chose the extreme 960 calorie per day goal.  I'm not going to say I always met it, but I'm darn close most of the time.  My favorite method when deciding what to eat is to input it into MFP and play around with portion sizes until I get to the calorie count I want.  It makes meal planning a lot easier.

This is where my second helper comes in...the Fitbit One.  I credit a lot of my resolve to continue on this little gadget.

The Fitbit One (FBO for short) is a sophisticated pedometer.  It tracks steps, flights of stairs, distance walked, and active minutes.  Their app can also track calories, but I don't use it for that.  It can even track sleep activity which is pretty neat.  It shows your restless moments, awake moments, and sleep times.  Just something cool to see.

What I adore about the FBO is its ability to track calories burned and sync up with MFP to subtract those calories from my total.  Pure magic.  I'm not sure what the formula is, but the calories subtracted from MFP is not total calories burned.  I see them as "extra" calories, those that you burn beyond what you typically burn while sedentary.

Seeing that relationship between my calorie intake and activity in real time is what keeps me moving forward.  The days I eat I little too much, I jump on the elliptical and work my way back down to my goal.  I don't beat myself up for going over because I can literally see how much extra activity I need to do to get back down.  I'm sure it's not a complete one to one tracker since it only tracks your step movements.  Using weights is not going to show up although MFP has ways of tracking those activities.  I just rely on the FBO to track my movements.  Even better are those days when my activity outperforms my calorie intake and I have room to spare.  Love it!

With my two little helpers, I have said goodbye to 5.8 pounds so far.  Not a huge amount, for sure, but still significant to me because this is the most progress I've made in a very long time without wanting to give up.  Can't wait to see how much more I can lose in the upcoming weeks!

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