According to my MyNetDiary history, on July 13th, 2010, I decided to lose weight. I was at 180.5 pounds at the time, and my clothes were getting uncomfortably tight (indeed, some of them were already there so long ago).
However, I didn’t want to do it via one of those diet plans (South Beach, Atkins, Grapefruit, Eating At Starvation Levels), because those just don’t stick around for people in general. I wanted to take a more back-to-basics, lifestyle-changing way.
Anyways, so I started using MyNetDiary to track my calories with no real goal in mind other than not eating too many calories per day, given the input parameters to the weight loss plan. And this part is pretty similar to a lot of other calorie counters.
However, MyNetDiary was additionally intriguing to me because of the daily analysis, which most calorie counters lack. The food counter lets you keep track of calories you eat, the exercise keeps tracks of calories you burn, and the daily analysis tab keeps track of the quality of your meals—keyed by default to a low-fat concentration-on-fiber style diet, more traditional than a lot of the new diet plans these days.
So, every day, by trial and error, I learned what would earn me green thumbs ups, and what would get me red thumbs downs. The goal was rather simple, visually, to track: aim for lots of green icons, ideally no red icons.
It also helps that the meals tab will let you look at the nutrients you’ve eaten for the day; it shows the calorie budget left as well as carbs, protein, fat, sodium, and fiber. (For the record, I always blow my carbs budget. But this doesn’t stop me from losing weight.)
And by this feedback mechanism, I learned to eat healthier. And this, in combination with the calorie reduction via the diet plan, resulted in losing weight at a steady pace—I actually started at a 2lbs a week goal until I hit 170lbs, at which point I eased into a more relaxed 1.5lbs a week goal. I expect at some point I’ll switch to a 1lb a week goal.
What probably also helped is that I set up the diet plan with an assumption that I was sedentary—not low active, but sitting-in-front-of-a-computer-all-day-without-an-exercise-plan sedentary.
And probably the last point that helped, at least directly related to MyNetDiary: I always try to eat at least to the point where the daily calorie loss is no longer dangerous. The daily analysis will let you know whether you’re not eating enough, too. You can always run it at any point in the day; what it shows will change as you enter in meals.
Here are the thumbs icons that you can get per day:
- If you burn calories, you get a green thumbs up. :D
- If you keep your saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium low: you get a green thumbs up for each. (^.^)/ ‘Course, if you go over, you get a red thumbs down instead. :(
- If you forget to eat breakfast, you get a red thumbs down. Ditto if your breakfast is less than 200 calories or has less than 5g of fiber. :(
- If you exceed the fiber recommendation for your gender/age group, you get a green thumbs up. :D
All this, plus very rigorous calorie-counting, was rather helpful in losing weight.
Probably the other part that helped in losing weight was finding alternatives to dairy products. ((I’m allergic, as it turns out, to dairy.)) In this case, mostly using recipes from The Uncheese Cookbook, because many of them are eerily similar to their dairy counterparts in terms of texture, looks, and taste, but at half of the calories. Often they also have big protein and fiber profiles (thanks to beans and nuts). Heck, that cookbook can turn strawberries with cream into a healthy food. O.o
Going wheat-free/gluten-free ((As it turns out, I’m at the very least allergic to wheat, and possibly also to gluten.)) doesn’t help much in terms of cutting calories; in fact, a lot of GF breads can feature 1.5 times to even twice the number of calories in the corresponding wheat breads. But using the various bean flours (including simply beans themselves) adds protein and fiber here as well, and can turn brownies into a strange kind of health/junk food hybrid.
I need to sleep now. I’m still somewhat operating because I made failbread (GF breads are difficult) and I couldn’t live that down as the final cookery of the day, so I made some mayonnaise alternative from The Uncheese Cookbook. Damn, it looks like mayo. There shall be tuna… salad. Not so much sandwiches right now. But someday.