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July 25, 2010 / Jim Fenton

Losing weight? There’s an app for that…

I’m not inclined to post product testimonials on my blog.  But I have lost some weight this year, and a few people have asked me how I did that, expecting to hear the name of a diet or something.  But in my case, it’s an iPod Touch/iPhone app that has helped me.

But first, some background.  Many people my age have gained weight over the years, but in their youth were relatively fit.  That isn’t the case for me; I always struggled with my weight, although I have had a few dieting successes, most notably in 1980 when I lost 50 pounds or so.  What I have found helps me the most is to keep records of what I eat.  The mere act of writing down what I eat affects my behavior enough to cause me to lose weight.  However, in between those successes, my weight inevitably creeps upward until I again find some discipline.

I had decided to embark on a diet this year as a New Year’s resolution when I noticed an item in The New York Times about an iPhone application called Lose It!.  I decided to download it to my iPod Touch and give it a try.

Lose It! gives me an easy way to log my eating and my exercise activity.  It also includes an extensive database of caloric values for foods, and caloric rates for various types of exercise.  When you set up the program, you tell it what your target is and how quickly you would like to lose the weight, and Lose It! calculates a calorie budget for each day.  It shows you, on a daily or weekly basis, how much you are over or under budget.

I opted to try to lose 1 1/2 pounds per week.  This was a good choice because it wasn’t a “crash” diet and also because my actual weight loss was closer to 1 pound per week.  I’m not sure of the reason for that, as I tried to log things faithfully and stayed close to my budget, but perhaps my basal metabolic rate was lower than it expected.  In any case, it has required discipline these past six+ months, but has not been an undue hardship.

Needless to say (since I wrote this blog entry), I have been very happy with the results.  I set a goal to lose 25 pounds, and achieved that in almost exactly six months.  This is slower than my previous diets, but I have a sense that I’m doing a better job of setting a healthy eating pattern than I had previously.

Compared with many other users of Lose It!, my results are modest.  If you  look at the application reviews on iTunes, you will see many stories of weight loss of 50 pounds or more.  These are life-changing results for the people involved.  What amazes me is that this is a free application.  It obviously receives quite a bit of support from its developer, FitNow.  It isn’t at all clear to me how they are making any money from this application.  I hope that they have a sustainable business model, because clearly they are doing a lot of good for a lot of people.

So now it’s time to put myself under a bit more pressure.  I just got rid of my safety net and threw out a bunch of (now) oversize clothes.  Perhaps by blogging about this I’ll also feel a sense of accountability by going public.

Wish me luck continued discipline!

One Comment

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  1. steph / Jul 26 2010 7:25 am

    Congratulations and continued discipline!

    I suspect that age affects out BMR, so gaining gets easier and losing gets harder as we get older.

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