I Ain’t Fatty-Fat-Fat-Fat No More

Welcome to another entry in a list of entries detailing my innate nerdiness and desire to track data; all Dan, all the time1.  In this case, I present for your perusal an iPhone app (as well as a web based app) known as LoseIt2. And what data do I track with LoseIt?  Only those data that are specific to my eating habits; when food was consumed, what food was consumed, and how much food was consumed.  It also allows me to track any and all exercise so that my net daily Caloric gain or loss can be monitored.

Now don’t fret folks, I am not using this application to lose weight.  Even I know that would be insane.  Instead, I am using it to try to maintain my weight.   You may recall that since I began living with my hiatal hernia, I’ve had a very difficult time eating enough food in a day.  Compound that with any sort of exercise routine and you can imagine the outcome.  For me, the result was a drastic weight loss of almost 50 pounds in only a few short months (as detailed here).  The vomiting and the pain sort of put a damper on eating big meals, or eating at all.  So clearly, consuming (and retaining) enough Calories to keep my weight stable has been a chore.

LoseIt has been a huge help in this challenge.  That is, it helps me see very clearly what I’ve consumed in a day, and I can modify my behaviour accordingly.  To maintain my weight at 145 lbs, I should intake about 2250 Calories (net) per day3.  When I’m off of this mark, a pretty little graph will tell me.  Green if I’m under, red if I’m over.

This is one of my not-so-good weeks. Although, in comparison to the 4 weeks prior, I guess it was about par.

Normally the green would be desired as it indicates “go”, as in “good”, or “go get ’em tiger”; clearly cheers you want to hear if you were attempting to lose weight.  Red would indicate “stop”, as in “stop eating that deep-fried flan, fatty-fat-fat-fat”4.

Since I’ve started using it, I’ve managed to up my Caloric intake per day by snacking far more often; almost consistently to be honest.  But the outcome has been worth it.  I have managed to maintain my weight around 145 lbs (~65.77 kg) for a little while now.  I don’t appear to be losing weight anymore, and I am confident that I won’t have to start buying extra-extra small clothes5.

The program also informs me of the percentage of Calories that come from protein, carbohydrates, and fats, as well as some info on other nutrients (sodium, cholesterol, etc.).  I don’t normally care about this, but I do check it from time to time.  The only problem here is that some of the foods in the database do not have all of the nutritional information listed to produce an accurate daily representation of my nutritional intake.  Additionally, I sometimes wonder whether or not the food I’ve selected adequately describes what I’m eating.  For example, does the Tropical Trail Mix actually represent that home-made trail mix I eat?  Likely not.  But since I’m not losing weight anymore, I’m gathering that it is a good approximation.

A four week trend of Caloric intake by source. According to the intertubes, about 20-35% of Calories should come from fat, 10-35% from protein, and 45-65% from carbohydrates. I'm not sure how valid those numbers are though. It appears that I fall into these ranges.

There are other reports available, such as a simple summary identifying the foods that you most often consume.  Since I am a creature of habit (I sort of have to be so as not to upset the volcano gods that clearly live in my stomach), I am not surprised to learn that I eat the same foods almost daily.  Lots of fruit, salad, tuna, english muffins, and other good things.  I am also not surprised to know that I consume a large quantity of soy milk lattes.  The program tells me that I’ve had 187 of them in the past year (equivalent to 40,141 Calories6).  To be honest, I’m surprised it hasn’t been more.

Being the nerd I am, I am thinking about purchasing the Withings Scale, which works with the LoseIt application.  Basically, it would allow me to weigh myself on a daily or weekly basis, then automatically transfer my weight (and various other measures) through the magic and mystery that are the intertubes directly to the database that is the LoseIt application.  It means all sorts of extra charts and nerdy goodness.  However, I’ve not convinced myself yet that I want to shell out the large dollars for a scale.

Bottom line, this application is great.  I recommend it to anyone that is trying to watch their weight.  Of course if one is trying to lose or gain weight, one should always chat with a nutritionist first.  Thankfully, I can always rely on the expertise that is Dr. Beth, as she knows a thing or two about nutrition 🙂

1 Such entries as

2 Download the iPhone application here (it’s free last I checked).  The website can be found here.

3 This value comes directly from LoseIt. However, according to the Health Canada website, there is a formula to determine my Caloric requirement.  A formula, people.  And not just any formula, one that includes Physical Activity Coefficient.  I’m swooning.  Anyway, according to the formula, and based on my age and gender, I should consume

  • 2292 Calories per day if I were sedentary (I am not).
  • 2508 Calories per day if I spent 30-60 minutes per day performing moderate activities, such as walking 5 to 7 km/h (I do this every day just going to and from the school).
  • 2783 Calories per day if I spent at least 60 minutes per day performing moderate activities, or
  • 3234 Calories per day if I spent at least 60 minutes per day performing moderate activities, AND an additional 60 minutes performing vigorous activities.

I would say I fall somewhere between the third and fourth options.

4 Note that Fatty-fat-fat-fat was one of my nicknames when I was younger.

5 I have started buying extra small and small shirts. Talk about a weird experience, given that not so long ago I was buying large. With that in mind, I have a huge basket full of mens large shirts if anyone wants to look through them.

6 Which would be burned off if I were to run 10 kilometres per hour for about 51 hours straight.  Riiiiiiight.


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Rick says:

    Yet another cool nerdy post. Though I’m fascinated that you track so many things. I mean, I like data like any other nerd, but I would find it difficult to track all these things. I guess you get used to it after a while though.

    1. dangillis says:

      Yup. Although, maybe this is why I sleep so little, what with all the data tracking and such.

  2. Beth says:

    I can confirm that the recommendation to get about 20-35% of from fat, 10-35% from protein, and 45-65% from carbohydrates is, in fact, the official recommendation that we nutritional science nerds endorse. They are known as the AMDR or “Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges” (sweet baby Jebus, I love a good science acronym). I’m actually kind of shocked that you found the correct ones just from searching the intertubes, because there’s so much nutrition misinformation clogging up said tubes, it’s often hard to people to find the good stuff.

    Also, the limitations that you identify (is the nutritional content of the trail mix that *I* ate really the same as the trail mix in the database? Or why the hell doesn’t the database have perogies??) are the exact kind of things I discuss with my class when we go over how to use diet analysis software. Pretty amazing that there are now free apps doing what used to require pricy software!

    Also, I freakin’ love English muffins.

    1. dangillis says:

      I’m having an english muffin right now (after a 7.25 mile in an hour run), with peanut butter and honey. Plus some trail mix and a huge ass glass of water. Dinner of champions!

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