As nostalgic as it would be to bust out the Moleskine and page-a-day, I knew on Wednesday that there had to be a better and easier way. I looked at how I was handling the day-to-day tracking of my weight plan and found that I could very easily upgrade how I managed things, especially considering that I had a much more sophisticated piece of equipment on me at all times– my smartphone. As always, I’m very iOS-centric, so Android users may need to adapt to different tools. Your mileage may vary. Also, as you should no doubt be aware, this is merely what worked for me: if you want to start a diet, do your homework first and/or see a doctor.
The first thing I did was digitize my “burndown” chart. This is the table of values that I set up in 2006 to track my daily weigh-ins and current status towards my goal. It started off as a fairly simple chart: just my weight for the day, with a little bit of math to determine my change over the last 24 hours and the cumulative loss. Turning it into a spreadsheet using Numbers was a great idea. I now have a very simple entry form where I can enter my weight and time spent exercising, and see an instant readout of the daily and cumulative changes. However, things get interesting with the “Math” form. With the press of a button I can add the day’s numbers to a rolling set of larger statistics, augmenting a charts page which visually shows me how I’m doing. I’ve also added a measure of how well my metabolism is working, in the hopes that it’ll prove my suspicion that it got easier to lose weight as I stayed on the wagon.
Next, I needed a tool to count my intake points. This would be the culmination of a search I’ve had ongoing for a few years now– a basic counter app would work just fine. I found the rather spartan Counter+, which does what it does very well. There’s a few issues with its interface, but by and large it doesn’t need to be anything terribly flashy. In order to augment this, though, I needed a calorie counting program. I’m still looking for a better replacement for my old Moleskine and its list, but right now the MyFitnessPal app seems to be a strong contender. The big priorities here are being able to handle a lot of different fast food places as well as keeping that information relatively up-to-date. If I’m cooking at home, I’ll probably stick to the calorie book I bought back in ’06: rice doesn’t get reformulated much.
Finally, in order to spur on some of the metabolism boosts I’m looking for, I decided to pull the trigger on a gym membership again. I last had a membership in ’08 and kept up with that for, you guessed it, about four months. I didn’t go for the full contract-year this time, instead taking a weekly membership to make sure I can actually stick with it. Plus, this is a nicer facility with much better hours (as in I’m going to be going in the morning in order to make sure I actually do it) and closer to home. With a little bit of effort I can make this work.
That’s the plan, boys and girls. Let’s see how far we get.