This Dance Ain't For Everybody, Only The Sexy People

One of the things you notice about living in this modern age is that while information seems to be everywhere -- not everybody actually uses it. In fact, it could be easily argued that the true power manipulators in our lives these days are the ones who work to shape and color information with their own points of view before disseminating it to the public through various media outlets -- leaving us with just as much opinion as there is fact when we try to learn about things we're not familiar with.

History teaches us that power mongers in the past controlled populations by depriving them of information, even in some cases withholding the ability to get information on their own. Peasants and slaves weren't taught to read, sacred texts were written in Latin dialects only certain people could understand -- information was guarded and hidden.
Our world is different.
Information is everywhere. You literally have to work to avoid it. But in a lot of ways it's as if someone took a bag filled with diamonds, mixed them in with a bunch of cubic zirconias, and then poured them out on a table in front of us. Untold riches are right there in front of us -- but without the ability to tell the difference between the precious and the fake, scores of people are left in the same place as those in the past who couldn't read.
Even worse are those people who have access to information and
possess the knowledge to understand it, but simply refuse to do so.
Growing up the son of a career nurse, I was always astounded by the number of doctors and nurses I encountered who were smokers. Surgeons. Pediatricians. Dentists. People who would literally tell you how deadly it was would then show up at dinner parties or hospital functions and light up. Even at a young age it baffled me, and probably did it's own part in fueling my longstanding distrust of people who tell you how to live your lives with what you should and shouldn't do.

But I think the place where most of us live these days is a weird middleground where we have a basis of knowledge and values that we learned from our upbringing and time in school, mixed with the knowledge that we've acquired along the way to survive in our daily lives and situations.

For example, for a while now I've been struggling with my weight. I'm not in the kind of shape I'd like to be in, and I could really stand to lose some pounds. I happen to know beyond a shadow of a doubt what I need to do to fix it -- the answer is always the same: Burn more calories than you take in.
The math is easy. But getting it into practice is where things get tricky.
One of the things that's always been sort of a pain in doing this math is the whole "How Many Calories am I taking in?" part of the equation. First of all, it's hard to get straight numbers -- especially if you live a hectic lifestyle and frequently eat on the run. Even when I have an idea of what I'm eating and what's in it -- it's hard to get a specific reading of how sauces, spices, or even how you cook something might come into play.
The other thing about it is that even when you do have the knowledge available -- how do you track it?
Calorie counting websites have been around for a while. The electronic outgrowth of the old "food diary" ideas. In theory it's an awesome idea -- just put in the foods you eat, let the website do the math, and then adjust your intake based off the data it puts back out at you. The problem has always been that depending on what kinds of food you eat -- sometimes you're left "creating" entries in the database. Sometimes this is easy -- foods you cook have all info written on the label.
But then you hit a restaurant, or a drive-thru, or a truck stop vending machine..
Plus (and this is really the worst part) is that once you get in the habit of writing all this down, it's sometimes a hard mirror to look at. And if your issue going into the process is the basic lack of self-discipline not to eat crappy food (or counter it with the appropriate amount of exercise) -- that your food diary becomes sort of a boogeyman. The food diary doesn't know that you had a hard day, or that you were on the road all night and just needed some sugar to keep awake for those last 100 miles -- it just sits there judging you like Tony Dungy.
So you cheat it. You don't enter certain things, or you fudge the
serving sizes. Or worse, you just sort of give up on it all together.
The other thing that makes it a hassle is portability. Lives are busy, so it's not always convenient to pull up a website after every meal -- leading you to this place where at the end of a day (or worse, the next day) you're trying to remember what you ate, fill in the blanks so to speak.
It's still really about self-discipline (as always) -- but having quicker access would certainly help.
Which is why I found myself intrigued when a my boy Satorical suggested a new site called Essentially a calorie database tracker, it also offers active forums full of people offering encouragement, recipe suggestions, and constructive ideas of how to get back on track when things go south.

The best part, James said was that it's all integrated with an iPhone app. When he eats or exercises -- he just updates the app and then gets on with his day. Simple, easy, and clean.

Of course (as I'm sure you all read in yesterday's post) I'm a Droid guy -- but most things that are on iPhone these days have a corresponding Android equivalent, so it was just a matter of finding it and installing it on my phone.

A quick check of the Android market turned up a Loseit app, which I quickly downloaded and installed. The icon on the app itself looked a little different from the website's -- but that's not really that unusual with droid apps, so I didn't think much of it.
But then when I activated the thing -- what I found was a lot different than
what I imagine the would like to have attached to their name:

[Listening to:  Killing Joke - "Change" ]


Tricia said…
Just get a raging case of the flu, like I had. That'll knock off a few pounds.
The Kaiser said…
The body is not a simple thermodynamic system, rather it is a complex chemical one. The composition of what you eat has a large effect on how much fat is built up, because your body does not contain a furnace that just burns whatever shit you throw in it. It instead uses a number of chemical reactions to convert a given lump of organic material into compounds that are useful to it. The upshot of this is that different foods are broken down somewhat differently.
Read "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes, it's a very well researched book that sticks to actual scientific evidence. Failing that, I think there's a lecture he gave online somewhere on the subject.
Anonymous said…
lmao! That'll make you think twice about pulling into burger king...

I think really the bottom line about losing weight/keeping it off is that it's a change of life, not a change of body.

It isn't so much about discipline as it is about frame of mind.

If you walk into a restaurant or a truck stop or whathaveyou and your mindset is that you refuse to put shit that is really bad for you into your body because it compromises what you feel is reasonable, your options change. Your depth of field shifts, so to speak.

You start narrowing your vision down to what fits into your definition of acceptable. If Doritos are no longer acceptable, what is? You start to notice popcorn instead. Knaamsayin?

It's *why* we eat the things we eat that has to change before *what* we eat can be permanently adjusted.

Why do you eat worse on a bad day? If you're comforting yourself with rich foods or junk foods, is there a better way to find consolation?

Your food diary can contain more than just your calories and the boring parade of numbers intake vs can always put in why you ate what you ate, and then work to find solutions to the snags and hang-ups that are holding you back.

You know? I know you know.
polkatronixx said…
I've lost 40lbs this year, all pretty much by watching my calorie intake. I have used the weight watchers 'points' way of tracking the calories, as it's simpler (for me at least). I'd say it all comes down to willpower (and I've not been doing so good in that area for the past month or two... but haven't put any weight back on yet).

The hard bit is getting into the habit: that bit between starting the diet and actually starting to see some results. I figure it's about a month or so (and by results, I mean losing a couple of pounds and seeing that on the scale). Once you start losing, it's a lot easier to will yourself not to eat that pizza. But getting to that point is always the toughest part; establishing the routine is the trick.

It's also easier to have someone to diet with. Misery loves company.

Good luck. If all else fails, get a tapeworm!
Bef said…
*goes to the droid market to get that app*

getting ready to preach to myself...

one of the things that I found that worked when I did weight watchers about 5 years ago was grazing...

I ate all the damn time...I ate 5 to 6 meals a day...


I never deprived myself of what I wanted to eat...I did not go without...

I have an overeating problem and I eat fast...which is just all bad, real bad, Michael Jackson...So I can scarf down a meal and an hour later be hungry...well think I'm hungry...

so when I went to the 5 or 6 meals a day...I was not hungry all the time and I lost 45 I hit a plateau and gained about 30 of it back...but I'm working on getting back on track...

now my snacks are healthy...usually fruit of some sort...

but again I never went without what I wanted...

once I started losing I noticed when I would go out to eat I started making healthier choices because I didn't want to lose the momentum...I also, cut back on going out...but the reason was 2 fold...healthy for my body and my wallet...remember I'm a poor single mother...

oh and I lost that 45 without exercising...weight loss is about 80% nutrition and 20% exercise...

if you need a cheerleader/weight loss support know how to get a hold of me...I'm all for the buddy system and I'm really trying to get back on track myself...
Satorical said…
a) Wow, Droid apps are really different than iPhone apps.
b) Living literally above a Subway restaurant is going to require planning. Running out of food is not an option, because I will always take the path of most convenience. That needs to be my fridge, not going downstairs.
Heff said…
YET ANOTHER totally USEFUL app, LOL !!!
Don said…
I've never had any problems with losing weight, the one problem that I've undergone pretty much my entire life is fluctuating weight.

It's hard for me to put on the pounds and keep 'em on. Even when I went thru a period of weightlifting and eating everything in sight, the extra pounds would disappear before long.

I'm been replaying thoughts over and over again in mind on whether to purchase an iPhone or Droid the next go 'round. More than likely, it will be Droid.

Untold riches are right there in front of us -- but without the ability to tell the difference between the precious and the fake, scores of people are left in the same place as those in the past who couldn't read.