Yes, I know I am getting older. I cannot play basketball like I used to. I feel like now after I play I have to duct tape Motrin to my body for a timed-release effect. I played a couple of weeks ago and was I ever sore. So sore that I had to physically grab my pant leg to cross my legs because my quads hurt so much.
Not a pretty sight.
But it is not all bad. I do feel like after living more life experiences (translated, “I’m old.”), I do feel like I have gained more wisdom and discernment in just living life. You hit your finger with a hammer enough times and you begin to learn something about using that tool.
But one of the areas that has demanded more attention is the slowing pace of my metabolism. The way I used to eat is just not realistic anymore. It does not help my weight or my stamina.
So last year I got on the scale and confirmed what I had been thinking.
I had added a few pounds to the ole frame.
I want to steward well the body God has given me and not slow myself down because of how I choose to live. And so I began to exercise more, but at this stage of life I realized that though I was helping to improve my cardio, it was doing nothing much to assist in shedding a few pounds.
A recent article in the New York Times confirmed this. The title was To Lose Weight, Eating Less Is Far More Important Than Exercising More.
Its emphasis was that though exercise has tons of benefits for the health of the body, it is not as closely tied to weight loss as we would like to think. And in this new stage of life, I would agree with that article. More biking, cardio, walking – it didn’t matter. My weight stayed the same.
After doing some research, I came across this app that I now use everyday: My Fitness Pal, developed by Under Armour. It’s a way to journal what I eat. And Science Daily reports a study of 1,700 participants that concluded that those who journaled what they ate lost up to twice as much weight as those who did not journal. Interesting stuff.
I love this app. Though there are several uses for this app, its primary feature is tracking what you eat. I think of it like a bank account. For me, at my height and weight, I have 2,420 calories that I can consume per day. I choose how I “spend” them.
I know fitness can be a discouraging thing to many and so I want to offer the +/- of using this app for about eight weeks now.
I love this app because…
- it has a user-friendly platform. The home screen tells me how many calories I have for the day, how many I have used, how many calories I gained back through exercise, and how many I have left for the day. Just the basics.
- it is a cross-platform app. I can access it through my desktop computer or my phone. And it has Apple or Android options. Having this on my phone is a game changer for me.
- It allows me to set a goal for how much I want to lose and how fast.
- it has over 5 million entries in its database with nutritional content for each. Below is what my breakfast looked like. Love this feature.
- For those of you concerned about the difficulty in adding items, no worries. My account keeps track of recently used items so all I have to do is check the box of what I want to enter, as well as how many portions I had.
- I can check my day’s entries and see where I landed in carbs, fats, proteins, etc.
- What I do eat, I have chosen to eat, and can enjoy it. And it has made me more selective in what I choose to eat.
- It literally takes a total of 5-6 minutes per day to enter what I eat.
- Since I tend to eat the same types of items, I know in my head what I am eating and what it will cost me in terms of calories.
- I am learning to eat to refuel as opposed to be full. Big paradigm shift in my thinking that had to take place.
- I have lost weight essentially every week since I have started to use it, and I have lost it more rapidly that I anticipated, doing the same exercises that I had been doing prior to using the app.
The only drawback?
You have to be disciplined each day to use it. And I will admit, it is an inconvenience at times and a pain in the backside to have to do this. Some days I enter meal by meal (and having it on my iPhone makes it super handy) and other days I enter a couple meals together. But I make myself do it.
Losing weight for me was more than just shedding some pounds. I realized I was not stewarding my body well. And in not doing that, I did not feel as mobile and energetic as I worked with people each day or completed projects. I have enough body breakdown issues that I cannot control that I do not want to add additional setbacks that I can control.
This app rocks. Many of us, like myself, have the desire to do better in this area but just need a functional process that works. And this one is doing it for me.