I’ve had a weight problem for pretty much all of my life. For some unexplained reason, except when I’ve been exercising in the extreme, my appetite has always ‘won the day’ and I have, on most days, apparently exceeded my daily calorie requirement and consequently put on weight. I’ve been on most of the fad diets (The Atkins, The F-Plan, The Mayo Clinic, Low Carb, Low Fat) but if they worked, and not all of them did, I soon put the weight I’d lost straight back on.
Despite all this experience in trying to reach a weight that I feel comfortable at, I have only learned one thing: If you take in more calories than your body needs, you put on weight!
Over the years I’ve compromised by making the occasional visit to the bathroom or gym scales and if any one morning I exceeded 90 kgs (about 14 stone to those of you who haven’t gone metric!) I’d cut back for a few days until I returned to my arbitrarily set watershed.
Now I know the Body Mass Index (BMI) has been discredited by many but it recommends a value between 20 and 25 for everyone and at 90 kgs I scored 26.8. So it has always irritated me that I was graded as ‘overweight’ based on my limit. By the way, I was equally annoyed by the fact that I would have to get to 83.7 kgs if I ever wanted to make the seemingly unachievable BMI score of 25.
So back in April this year, recognising that many of my trousers were getting a little tight around the middle and having booked a holiday, I ventured onto the bathroom scales to find that I’d risen to 93.8 kgs. That was the highest I’d been for many years and uncomfortably above my self-imposed limit. I’d been keeping fit though, mostly by running, and was regularly running 5k but rather slowly averaging 30 minutes or more.
So having decided that at least the 3.8 kgs had to go, I was keen to count calories (particularly as experience had told me that was the only reliable way to lose weight) and I was recommended to try the website http://www.myfitnesspal.com. For those who haven’t visited this website, it allows you to set goals then recommends a daily calorie intake for you. Then it assists you day-by-day in comprehensively counting your calories as long as you faithfully input what you eat. Nearly all foods are already in the website’s database but if what you eat isn’t, you can input it yourself for others to use.
The website itself is extremely user friendly and the applications available for tablets and smart phones are easy to use and immediately synchronise with your webpage. There are also links to many fitness tracking applications (I use Endomondo) so you can go out for a run or cycle and see your calorie allowance for the day increase accordingly (something I found a huge incentive to exercise!)
So over 130 days ago I started using My Fitness Pal in earnest and barring a few retirement parties and trips to my in-laws, I’ve been counting calories, principally on their iPad app, ever since. Today is my last day as I go on holiday tomorrow and, as you will see from what follows, I have more than achieved my goal of losing the 3.8 kgs I’d put on.
On the scales this morning I weighed-in at 79.4 kgs – that’s a 15% reduction in my body weight. Based on that my BMI is now 23.7. This morning I ran 5k in 26 minutes 15 seconds the fastest I’ve run that distance in years. I think I can genuinely say that www.myfitnesspal.com has changed my life.
I appreciate using this sort of methodology won’t suit everyone (Weight Watchers seems to work for many) but it has got results for me. If you are thinking of trying to lose some weight I would recommend that you at least give My Fitness Pal a go. What have you got to lose? (Except weight!)