It wasn’t long after my broken arm healed when I decided to get serious about losing some weight.
I remembered the day when I went over the handlebars of my bicycle and landed on my side. I broke my arm right below the shoulder. I hadn’t been on a scale for a long time, but I must have weighed around 250 pounds or a bit more at the time.
Had I weighed less, maybe I wouldn’t have broken my arm, I thought.
Somewhere I had read that if an adult man keeps his calorie intake below 2000 every day, he’d lose weight. Soon the kitchen was littered by little pieces of paper filled with the running tallies of my daily caloric intake.
Magically, I started to lose weight.
I’ve always considered myself tech savvy so it finally dawned on me that there might be an app for the first generation iPhone I lug around with me that could help me keep track of my calories. (And, dear iPhone, if you’re reading this, would you please die so I can justify getting the new one?)
I’ve done the Weight Watchers point system before. It works great, but there’s a monthly fee. I don’t need to increase my overhead.
A quick search of the app store found several iPhone applications that would track caloric intake and weight and help me control them. I did my search in 2009. I looked again recently and there are even more applications available today, including many you can download for free.
I settled on “Tap & Track.” It costs about four dollars. The app has a boatload of users and a ton of reviews. Tap & Track is consistently rated at four and a half stars.
Gone were the scraps of paper. No longer was I hunting for a pencil without a broken lead.
And, best of all, the weight kept sliding off.
I had to input my starting weight and how much weight I wanted to lose each week. It took that information and set a daily calorie limit for me. I then input my calories throughout the day, either by punching the numbers in directly or by looking foods up in the extensive database.
It also has an exercise database. I often would put in 10-20 minutes on my exercise bike and the app would credit me with a few more calories to consume.
Every week or so I updated my weight and the application adjusted my daily calorie limit.
It was working great. I was losing about a pound a week. Feeling more fit by the day, I started walking and hiking. That was great.
But, an odd thing occurred. My weight loss seemed to plateau. This often happens in weight loss programs so I upped my walking with the hope of increasing my metabolism a little. I walked for longer periods of time and hiked the hills.
It didn’t seem to work.
I finally began to suspect that I was giving myself too much credit for exercise, or the database was wrong.
Tap & Track was saying that one hour of generic “walking” was burning 445 calories. Sounds reasonable. I decided to check that against another online database.
The database at http://www.dietandfitnesstoday.com / allows me to be a little more specific with my data. Not only could I input my weight, I could input my walking speed, which is about three miles per hour.
According to that database, I’m only burning about 320 calories on my hour-long walks.
Now I seem to be losing weight again.
I don’t believe the problem is with the iPhone app, but I suspect what feels like an average walking speed to me, is slower than what Tap & Track considers to be an average speed.
My goal now is to break the 200 pound mark. From there, who knows?