Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Calories in, Calories out

That's been my mantra the past few weeks. I am committed to dropping about 10 pounds before the marathon.

To do so, I know that I need only meet one equation: calories out > calories in. As long as I do that I am a guaranteed loser! Of course, if it were that easy, everybody would be losing tons of weight.
That magical equation is the basis of the multi billion dollar diet industry. Many years ago (pre Internet) I did the Lindora plan (dropped quite a bit of weight too). For all the talk about ketosis, what Lindora was all about was portion control.

Last year, when I ratched up to a svelte 260, I used the Internet to help with portion control by being very festidious about counting calories. I used a website called Sparkpeople (http://www.sparkpeople.com/). The website is easy to use and has a pleasant UI. Using Sparkpeople was very instrumental in helping me change my eating habits and dropping weight.

Since last summer though, I became a lot less dedicated to tracking my calories. I also became a lot less dedicated to the event that was causing the calorie burn - indoor rowing. The end result was that I violated the sacred equation and turned it backwards, adding about 10 pounds in the process.

Now that I am running, it is time to start attacking the other side of the equation. I started using Sparkpeople again, but I found that the food database is a little lacking. If you are going to start using a website to track calories, the first thing you should look at is the food database. Look especially for a food database that has stuff in it that you eat. As I got further into using Sparkpeople, what I found was that for what I ate, the food database in Sparkpeople was more like an ingredient database. I had to spend time selecting bits and pieces from the database to approximate what I was eating. What became clear to me was that doing this was probably underestimating my intake, since I was putting the excercise in, but not losing the weight.

I've changed my calorie tracking website to Caloriecounter (http://caloriecounter.about.com/). So far, the food database is much more to my liking. I'll give it a couple of weeks and will present a report here.

Oh - today's workout? Back on the ergometer for 10 kms.

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