I was fretting about my expanding waistline a few weeks ago when I happened to pass a bulletin board at the gym promoting the YMCA Lose It Challenge. Drop 10 pounds in two months by tracking your meals and exercise using the online application, Lose It. Normally, I don't like to micromanage my food consumption, but since this year has special circumstances attached to it, I need to start paying a little more attention if I don't want to gain those 30 pounds we talked about. Might as well make it fun, right? I signed up right away.
Based on my age, height, and current weight, Lose It calculated my recommended daily calorie intake, then revised it downward based on a 2-month, 10-pound weight loss goal. My job, it explained, is simply to document and input my meals and exercise each day, and try to keep my calories under that magic number. Easy peasy. I can do this!
A database within the application stores the calorie amounts for almost every food you can think of, from raw ingredients to several brands of frozen meals and fast food. So far I haven't been able to stump it, even with random entries like persimmons. I usually break out the individual ingredients for homemade meals, but, if I'm feeling lazy, I might sub in an equivalent meal from one of the restaurants they have on file.
Then there's exercise. Calorie-burning values have been assigned for all kinds of physical activities, including swimming, running, aerobics, yoga, walking, sit-ups, push-ups, canoeing, darts, Wii bowling, house-cleaning, snow-shoveling, luge (!) and, yes, even sex. I checked. Three different levels of sexual activity, in fact, from passive, light kissing to active, vigorous humping. Unfortunately, the values are much lower than one would hope. For example, if I wanted to burn 150 calories (the equivalent of 45 minutes of slow-moving tai chi), the Lose It number-crunchers estimate that would require active, vigorous sex for no less than 4 hours and 30 minutes. Poor Husband!
Anyway, I take a kind of perverse pleasure in accurately documenting my food and exercise down to the amount of cookie dough I ate out of the bowl and anything that might possibly count as physical activity. Calories burned are automatically subtracted from calories consumed, and then the number is compared to my target calorie intake. I particularly enjoy the custom graphs they provide so I can see the results in painful relief. Here's how I did last week:
The red is where I exceeded my calorie count. It's pretty obvious which days I was making desserts. My favorite is last Monday where I took my calorie count and tried to double it. Take that, Lose It, you're not the boss of me! I hope I really enjoyed whatever baked goods I was tunneling my way through that day.
So, yeah, not as easy as I thought with my crazy new dessert-packed lifestyle. I haven't lost any weight over these past three weeks, and the date by which I'm projected to meet my goal keeps getting automatically recalculated further and further into the future, but it should be noted that I haven't gained any weight, either. And, honestly, if that's all I accomplish, it will have been worth it.