Barefoot calorie counting on both sides of the equation

The simplest model of body weight dynamics says there are g’zins and g’zouts and to lose weight the g’zouts must exceed the g’zins. So, if you are really aiming to lose some weight, it’s an excellent idea to track your caloric intake versus output. For me, that practice turned the daunting endeavor into a game with my score reported by the scale every morning. My competitive juices provided the discipline to keep the calories down and the exercise up.

Years ago my mom would diligently look up various foods in a little paperback pamphlet. Today, if you are at all technologically bent, software makes it a lot easier. Google “counting calories” and you’ll find scores of options. Most are free web apps where you get an account, enter your stuff and it tracks it for you. They all are pretty similar; the key is to find one with a good database. Piecing together what’s in a salad from McDonald’s is tedious, but if you need only enter “McSalad- Southwest,” that’s easy. Some of the sites have social media aspects, so you can “friend” with other dieters and build a support group. For me a key feature was having an iPhone app available, so I could carry my tracking software in my pocket. I did a little research at the time (6 months ago) and came up with MyFitnessPal. It worked well for me and is certainly worth a look.

As the exercise of the equation is important too, you’ll want to track that did along with your consumption. The tallying exercise can also inspire physical exercise—an extra mile run might, for example, give you the cushion you need to drink a beer that night. Most of the calorie counter apps enable you to enter activity and time or distance and they take it from there. However, if you are a runner, walker or biker, you might want to try one of the smartphone apps that uses GPS to track your route, speed and even change in elevation to calculate energy consumption more accurately. MapMyRun is the most popular; I use RunKeeper. Both are integrated with websites that let you share and search for routes, post to Facebook, and other social stuff, and thus have value beyond the calorie count.

After a while, and in particular once my weight was down in the reasonable range, the tracking became somewhat pointless and not worth the hassle. However, there is another big and ongoing benefit: The practice of counting sensitizes one to which foods are calorically better or worse. It was surprising (and disappointing to a 16+ oz a day drinker) to find that skim milk has more calories than beer. A medium sized sweet potato on the other hand starts to look pretty grand at only 60 calories. Another dieting benefit is that it expanded my tastes to a number of veggies of which I’ve not been a big fan.

With the Barefoot Wonder Diet, you can lose weight without counting, and, in any case, don’t need to count forever, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor for a few weeks if you are aiming to drop some pounds. You might also want before/after pics and measurements, so you can track those dimensions of your progress as well. Anything that gives you get a sense of forward progress will help to keep you on track.

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6 Comments on “Barefoot calorie counting on both sides of the equation”

  1. Russ Abraham Says:

    Thanks for posting the article, was certainly a great read!

  2. Stephen Says:

    Thanks Phil! This is sensible, because you make it fun. I was stunned by the skim milk – beer comparison. I guess I’ll have to stick to beer!

  3. Phil Odence Says:

    Beer varies, of course. 12 ozs of skim milk is about 150 calories which is the same as a Bud. Some light beers are as low as 90 cals and an IPA might be 200. Surprisingly Guinness comes in at a mere 125. Beer…not just a breakfast drink any more!


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