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.
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.Even worse are those people who have access to information and
possess the knowledge to understand it, but simply refuse to do so.
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.
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 math is easy. But getting it into practice is where things get tricky.
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.The other thing about it is that even when you do have the knowledge available -- how do you track it?
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.But then you hit a restaurant, or a drive-thru, or a truck stop vending machine..
So you cheat it. You don't enter certain things, or you fudge theThe 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.
serving sizes. Or worse, you just sort of give up on it all together.
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 Loseit.com. 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 LoseIt.com would like to have attached to their name:
[Listening to: Killing Joke - "Change" ]