29 August 2009

Counting Calories and Keeping A Food Journal

Keeping a food journal is something that has eluded me for some time. One of the number of things I want to get out of running is to lose weight, but my eating habits have proven to be a weakness. I have read in many places that keeping a food journal is the first step to adjusting your eating habits and begin changing your lifestyle so that it improves your health.

The next step to the process is to count calories. Some people do it meticulously, weighing and measuring everything that they eat. Others estimate their calories based on the nutritional panels on the packaging. Either way, the idea is to burn more calories per day than you take in. Creating such a deficit will cause you to lose weight, obviously. There are a lot of details that can be written about counting calories, since it is very different for every person and based on a number of factors.

I had a couple of problems with doing these two things. First, I don't always carry a notebook, and could not fathom writing down everything that I ate. Second, looking up the calories and calculating everything I ate seemed to be very time consuming and tedious. Sure there are websites that keep track of all of this for you, but I don't always surf the net everyday... believe it or not. It just seemed like so much to do.

Until now.

Anyone that is following me on Twitter, or is friends with me on Facebook know that I purchased an iPhone last week. They know because I will not shut up about how great it is. It is great because it makes the things I want to do during the day, easier. This includes things that are productive as well as things that are a complete waste of time.

One of the many apps that I have downloaded include the free app, Lose It! This is a tremendous tool for counting calories and recording your eating habits. Since I carry my iPhone everywhere I go I can easily record what I eat (as soon as I eat it) as well as exercise that I do and how many calories I burn.

I did not know I was looking for this, but Lose It! is the exact app I was looking for.

You start off by entering your weight and sex, and then setting a goal. Do you want to lose weight, gain it, or maintain it? I chose to lose weight since I am currently 210 and want to get to around 180 right now.

It then gives you a few options. Do I want to lose a pound a week? two pounds a week? or even a half pound per week? Depending on your choice, the app then sets a calorie budget for you. According to my settings, my daily calorie budget is 2,067 and will lose 1.5 pounds per week.

Entering food that you eat will add to the calories for the day, while entering exercise will subtract calories for the day. The nice thing about this app is the large database of food that it has, as well as the ability to enter info for foods that are not there. You can easily flip between you daily log, weekly log, nutrients log as well as check the progress of your goals.

This app is everything that I need to help me with my eating habits. I can count calories, keep a food journal, and monitor my progress all from a couple screens on my iPhone. In turn that will motivate me to adjust my eating habits and lose weight, which will do two things.

Make me a healthier person, and hopefully a better runner.


joyRuN said...

Good to know! I'm still waiting for Verizon to offer the iPhone before I bite :)

Hua said...


I love my iPhone as well. I'm gonna look into adding that app for my own weight loss purposes!
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N.D. said...

This thing sounds pretty cool. How long will you test it out for and see if you lose weight? I'm going to check and see if it is on my ipod touch that I never use.

lindsay said...

i have lose it too! it is a good app though i have fallen out of habit of using it. it's fairly easy to add foods that aren't already in there which is nice. good luck with staying on top of your tracking and hopefully seeing progress soon!