Dieting…Again

I really need to lose weight.

Without going into specifics, let’s just say that like the majority of Americans these days, I’m overweight. I’m tall, so I can “get away with it” — to a certain point. But I don’t want to. I want to be thinner.

Why I Want to Lose Weight

Please understand that this isn’t an appearance issue as much as its a health and practicality issue.

I had a friend who was overweight and constantly dieting. One day, she told me she didn’t care how much she weighed. She wasn’t succumbing to the pressure to be thin, just to make some man happy. (She was divorced.) So she stopped dieting and basically went to hell physically.

I don’t want to lose weight to make a man happy. My husband doesn’t seem to care that I’ve developed “love handles.” There isn’t any other man I want to impress. I’m forty-something. Those days of flirting are over.

But as I age, my weight is holding me back — almost literally. I have bad knees and the more I weigh, the more my knees hurt (or creak) when I’m walking up stairs or hills. I’ve always been short of breath when going uphill, but now it’s worse. And I can’t help but wonder how these extra pounds are affecting my overall health: heart, arteries, blood pressure. Stroke runs in my family on both sides. I don’t want to go there.

Then there’s the practicality side of the matter. Every six pounds is a gallon of fuel on my helicopter when I’m flying with a bunch of other fatties. I’ve done plenty of weight and balance calculations and I’ve realized that if you put a 250+ pounder up front with me and lightweights in the back, we’re going to be nose heavy. Being lighter would give me more flexibility with loading passengers, too.

In the spring of 2004 — just four years ago! — I weighed 30 pounds less than I do now. When I met my husband in 1983, I weighted 60 pounds less. (That was a bit on the thin side, in all honesty, but I wouldn’t mind going back there.) And for a while in college, I weighed 85 pounds less than I do now. (That was way too thin for someone my height and I was having digestive problems because of it.)

I want to go back to what I weighed in 2004. And I want to do it by March month-end.

What I’m Doing About It

Okay, so I’ve restated my “lose weight” goal as a New Year’s resolution. Big deal. I’ve been doing that for the past three years.

But now I’ve decided that I’ve really had enough. And I’ve begun watching what I eat.

You know, everyone says that Weight Watchers works. I know why. It’s because you look at every thing you eat and see the impact in terms of calories, fat, and other nutrition.

I don’t want to go to Weight Watchers, but I found an alternative. It’s a Web site called FitDay. I’d actually stumbled upon it at least a year ago, but a Twitter friend (@truecolor) mentioned it just the other day and I went to check it out again. This time, I decided to use it.

FitDay is a Web-based nutrition program, that is designed to help you meet weight and other nutrition goals. You tell it exactly what you ate and it tells you how many calories and other nutritional units you’ve consumed. You can set goals, specify additional activities (like exercise programs), and, of course, enter your daily weight. FitDay performs all kinds of calculations to tell you how your diet and exercise affect your nutrition and calorie burn.

Calorie BreakdownFitDay tracks all your data and prepares charts and graphs, like this one from the other day. I’m trying to keep my carb count low, since Atkins has worked so well for me in the past, and that’s why you’re seeing so many calories from fat. I’m going to try to shift those calories to protein. FitDay makes this relatively easy by letting you view the nutritional information from a vast database of foods.

For example, this morning I really wanted some oatmeal instead of eggs. But after consulting the FitDay database, I realized that a serving of oatmeal would put me way over my maximum goal for carbs for the day. So I stuck with a nice spinach, egg, scallion, and cheese omelet. FitDay gave me the total counts for my breakfast, which included two large cups of coffee with real sugar and 2% milk:

Today's Foods

Just seeing how each item I eat affects the overall picture of my nutrition is making me think twice about everything I eat.

So far, I’ve lost 2-1/2 pounds in 3 days. While it’s too early to make a call on whether this is working, it has to work — as long as I stick with it.

FitDay also has a PC-based application that you can buy, download, and use on a PC. I’m thinking of getting it for my mom, who has always struggled with weight. I’m not a PC user — I use a Mac — and don’t think it’s worth firing up Parallels just to track food when I can do it on the Web.

What I Think

While I’m not especially pushing FitDay — the Web-based program is far from perfect — I do think that it’s a useful tool for dieting.

What do you think? Have you tried any dieting tools that really helped you out? Share your comments here.

2 thoughts on “Dieting…Again

  1. Two interesting things about loosing weight.

    One is that it is *so* much harder, the older you get. In my 20s, I could loose 5 lbs by “being careful” for a week. Now, in my 50s, I am “careful, go to the gym 3x week and that is just to stay at 160.

    The other is that I hate (really loath) shopping. If my clothes no mlonger fit, then I have to go shopping and that is a strong factor for me.

    My diet plan (till I read about Fit Day) is:

    No pasta, potatoes, rice for lunch or dinner.

    Bread only in a sandwich, tortilla is better.

    Ice cream once a week.

    Popcorn once a week.

    Six beers/wines a week.

    Good luck Maria!

  2. Maria:

    Found your blog because I’m just now learning to integrate WordPress into a site I’ve designed for a client. Couldn’t help but comment on the wanting to lose weight though. My husband and I are in our mid-late 50s and have been vegan since 1990 and pretty physically active. But we ate a lot of processed soy (fake meats). Last year I decided I HAD to loose the persistent extra pounds before my 40th high school reunion. I got lucky and found the most sensible sustainable program on the planet. I got the book “Eat to Live” by Joel Fuhrman, MD. Together we tried the 6 week program with the support of his membership website http://www.drfuhrman.com and we both lost 25+ pounds! It was easy and it’s stayed off. This is how we’ll eat the rest of our lives. I wrote my own story about it at http://www.s2cycle.com/html/etl.html. I feel like I’ve taken control of my health destiny and am eating for optimal heath and longevity now. I hope this is helpful and that however you do it you’re successful.

What do you think?