Lazy, Fat and Crazy Lifestyle Change-Logging Your Food

I could rattle off statistics and facts about why food logging makes losing weight more successful but I’d rather get on with it and have you thank me later. By logging your food you’ll become an expert on what you eat and how nutritious it is becoming more aware of what you put into your body. That’s what this lifestyle change is about.

MyFitnessPal is the most popular calorie counter and for good reason. It’s free and simple to use giving us real insight into our nutrition and calories burned during the day. It works!

What It Can Do For You

  • It tracks your weight and calculates a recommended daily calorie intake. It also contains a well-designed food diary and an exercise log.
  • The homepage provides a clear picture of how many calories you’ve consumed during the day. It also shows how much of your recommended intake remains, as well as how many calories you’ve burned by exercising.
  • If you’re using a fitness tracking device, MyFitnessPal can likely connect and sync with it and then include the data in the exercise log.
  • The app tracks your progress towards your goals and offers chat forums with fellow users. These include conversations, recipes, tips and personal success stories.
  • MyFitnessPal’s nutrition database is huge, containing over five million foods. You can also create custom foods and dishes, or download recipes from the internet.
  • It even saves your favorite meals so you can log those quickly.
  • Additionally, the MyFitnessPal app has a barcode scanner, so you can instantly enter the nutrition information of some packaged foods. (I love this!)
  • Each day is presented as a pie chart, showing your macros (the breakdown of carbs, protein and fat.) You can also write a note for the day, such as how the day went or how you were feeling.

Let’s Begin!

I want you to go get the MyFitnessPal application and put it on your cell phone (so you always have it with you.) Then, under Settings set up your Profile and Goals. Be honest because what you put down will be used to calculate how many calories a day you should eat to get to your goal weight.

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Under Settings is where you’ll put your personal info and preferences. Click on Profile to start.

Once your Profile is done, click on My Goals. What you put here will determine how many calories you can eat each day, and how the app will figure out those calories.

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These examples are from my account, yours will be different. The lock icons are for the premium (paying) part of the app so ignore them. I use the free version but if you want to have more control over your nutrition, or have a medical condition you might want to try the paid version.

While setting your Goals decide how fast you want to lose weight under Weekly Goal and pick an Activity Level. If you’re just starting to log food it’s a good idea to pick Not Very Active. (I have Lightly Active picked because I’m in maintenance but at first I used Not Very Active.) Ignore the Nutrition Goals you don’t need to change them.

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The Home tab of MyFitnessPal.

When you’re finished with your Goals look at the top of the Home tab. Under Goal, it will tell you how many calories a day you need to eat to get to your desired weight. MyFitnessPal will never go below 1,200 calories a day it’s the lowest you can go without a doctor’s orders.

The Home tab will tell you at a glance where you’re at in your day and if you have a tracker or count steps it will show you how many steps.

I’m maintaining my weight now but when I started I was at 1,200 calories a day. It took me about a year to take off almost 60 pounds. The first 30 pounds came off without aerobic exercise (riding my bicycle) but when I started to exercise with my new diet the weight came off faster without having to target any areas of my body.

MyFitnessPal connects to many apps and devices listed under My Apps And Devices. I’ve used it with my Jawbone UP3 and my Fitbit Charge 2 band. If you don’t have a tracker no worries you don’t need one to use MyFitnessPal.

Let’s Log A Food

The first time you log a food either use the barcode reader or look it up using search. The next time it’ll be there for you to pick under one of the convenient tabs or you can Multi-Add your foods.

MyFitnessPal’s nutrition database is huge, containing over five million foods. You can also create custom foods and dishes, or download recipes from the internet. Resturant food and brand names are included.

Let’s log peanut butter. If you know the brand you can add it for a more detailed search result. Look for the one that matches and add it to your Lunch.

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Each food has their own category. Here we do a search for peanut butter.

The database is good but pick carefully and pay attention to quantities. If you pick the first entry and only had 1 tbsp. you can change it after logging that food and it will reflect that change in your entries portion and calories. Don’t forget to log your drinks and snacks.

A green check means the food item was checked and is correct. Many foods won’t have one but no worries the majority of the data is correct without the green check. I think it’s the best database I’ve ever used they all have some mistakes and I’ve tried a lot of them in the past.

Logging A Meal

Let’s start with Breakfast it’s the most important meal of the day that sets you up for the whole day. If you eat a healthy breakfast it will give you energy throughout the morning without hunger pains.

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I eat oatmeal with fresh blueberries and chia seeds every day for breakfast it sticks with me and gives me plenty of energy towards my morning bike ride.

This is what a logged meal looks like. Tomorrow when I go to log Breakfast again I can load it separately or as a meal depending on my settings. Foods already logged will show up in the Recent, Frequent, etc. tabs for each meal.

Complete Your Diary, Snyc Your Apps And Check Your Progress

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After exercise and steps are logged (and synced) they’ll be added to your calories for each day. (Later we’ll talk about using MapMyFitness to log exercise.)

You can manually log any exercise (including steps) with MyFitnessPal each day so it can be added to your daily burn. If you have a tracker connected (under My Apps And Devices) the data will be shared between apps and show up like my data above.

At the end of each day click on Complete Diary to see how you did. It will tell you how much you’d weigh if every day was like today, in 5 weeks time giving you a snapshot of how you’re doing. There’s more!

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At any time of the day, you can check your Calories, Nutrients and Macros to make sure you’re on track. Your Macro percentages are already set up for you.

What Are Macros?

Macronutrients or Macros are the building blocks of nutrition. You probably know them better as carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Macros are the nutrients you need in large amounts, as they provide your body with the calories it needs to function.

Carbohydrate + Protein + Fat = Total Calories

Carbohydrate: Provides fuel, the energy for your body and brain. It’s found in all plant foods, like grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, and also milk and yogurt.

Protein: Helps to build and repair your muscles, organs, skin, blood, and different chemicals, like hormones, in your body. It’s found in large amounts in meat, poultry, fish, legumes, dairy, tofu, and eggs, and in smaller amounts in nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

FatInsulates and protects your bones and organs, acts as backup fuel for energy and helps in brain development. Healthy, unsaturated fats are found in olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish, like salmon, sardines, and mackerel. Unhealthy saturated fats are found in high-fat beef, pork, butter, full-fat dairy, and processed foods, like cookies and donuts.

Balancing your Macros is an easy way to watch calories since together they equal your total calories per day. By eating the right percentage of each you’re making better choices with your food. giving your body what it needs each day.

Can I Trust The Calories Listed For Each Food?

Finding out the correct calories in a serving of a food isn’t easy. Do a search and you’ll find a different number of calories for the same food. It makes it hard to count calories and be consistent. This can set you up for failure when losing weight.

Logging food daily with the same database and reusing these foods under your profile ensures that you use the same number of calories for the same foods each time. MyFitnessPal works to be accurate checking its food database for mistakes when possible and removing them. You can trust the numbers and this application to help you lose weight even if the numbers aren’t perfect because of how it works.

Be consistent in your logging, stay within the recommended calories per day, use the same entry for the foods you eat daily and be patient. You will start seeing the weight come off.

MyFitnessPal Worked For Me

I can’t say enough about how much MyFitnessPal helped me lose weight and eat better. I had no idea how many calories to eat, I tried many different apps failing miserably and learning nothing. I was getting heavier and more depressed.

I’ve been using MyFitnessPal for over 2 years now. After the first year, I really didn’t need to log anymore but it was so easy I just kept it up. By doing so, I’ve kept within 4 pounds of my target weight because I see what I’m doing wrong before it gets out of control. It’s a great feeling to have a normal BMI and I work to keep it that way.

When you start using MyFitnessPal daily to log your food you’ll find more to love about it. You’ll be reversing your Real Age and losing weight in no time.

We started out lazy, got fat, and then it drove us crazy but we can regain sanity by logging our meals. I got you!

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Lazy, Fat and Crazy Lifestyle Change-Food

Food glorious food! Unlike drugs or alcohol food is easy to get and with a fast-food place on every corner just waiting for us to slip. It’s intoxicating, mood altering and delicious. It whispers to us in the dark, it smells heavenly and fills our every needy need. For many of us, it’s our bestest buddy and we have hard-wired memories of it growing up.

Addiction to food is one of the most difficult things to break because our bodies need food and we can’t simply quit eating it. With practice, we can develop a healthy attitude about food and learn how to eat right. With a new relationship toward food, we can nourish our bodies and still celebrate good food without the negative side effects we get locked into.

The good news is it’s totally doable but it takes practice, motivation and time. It took you time to put the weight on and it takes time to take it back off. It took me a year to take off 60 unhealthy pounds eating 1,200 calories a day but it came off and has stayed off for 2 years now.

For the past year, I’ve been on maintenance eating 1,500 calories a day. I don’t have to log my calories anymore, can eyeball my food portions and by exercising daily I enjoy great health benefits without gaining the weight back. Like me, in the first year, you will learn what and how to eat for the rest of your life.

We are already lazy, that’s how we came to the “fat” part and now that we’re crazy about it we have to make a lifestyle change. If you follow my lead you will be losing weight in no time. Remember to check with your doctor before starting this lifestyle change. My doctor has never been happier with me.

I believe in watching portions and counting calories because I’ve seen it work but there’s no need to weigh your food or follow a specific diet. I don’t believe in diets, fads, smoothies, powders or free days. In this case, simplicity is our friend.

We will be logging our food with a free tool that will make this easier. You will fill out a profile that will tell you how many calories a day to eat. You enter how many pounds you want to lose, etc. Anything lower than 1,200 calories isn’t recommended.  I’ll cover this and logging in the next post but here are a few things to start now.

Cut Back On Sugar And Starches

Removing sugars and starches (carbs) from your diet will lower your insulin levels, kill your appetite and make you lose weight without hunger.

You will want to stop drinking soda (even diet soda), fruit juices (except OJ), and alcoholic drinks. Black coffee, tea or water (plain or bubbly) is fine. Drink 8, eight-ounce glasses or more a day.

This is extremely important as these types of drinks have plenty of sugar and calories. We’ll talk more about drinks and what carbs to avoid when we cover food logging.

Eat Protein, Healthy Fats And Vegetables

The more healthy fats, fresh fruits, whole foods and vegetables we eat the better. We will be concentrating on calories, nutrients and the macros in our diet.

Macros are the nutrients you need in large amounts, as they provide your body with the calories it needs to function. Watching these numbers are a kind of short-hand when it comes to weight loss making calorie counting much easier.

Our macros will be 50% carbohydrates, 30% fat, and 20% protein per day but no worries as logging will keep track of these numbers for you.

High protein diets can also reduce obsessive thoughts about food by 60%, reduce the desire for late-night snacking by half, and makes you feel full longer. Peanut butter is great after a long bike ride.

We’ll be learning to eat good food and log it in my next post. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek into other things we’ll be doing to get healthier. I know I’m excited and hope you are. I’ll be doing this alongside you maintaining my weight.

Exercise 3 To 4 Days A Week

By exercising, you will burn more calories and prevent your metabolism from slowing down, which is a common side effect of losing weight. You’ll also experience those feel-good endorphins (runner’s high), ditch your depression and sleep better at night.

I would prefer you ride a bicycle or take a spin class but any cardio like running, jogging, swimming or walking will suffice. Or join a gym and lift weights they have stationary bikes. You must pick something and stick to it.

You will learn to log your exercise which will automatically be added or subtracted from your calories for the day using the tools I’ll be introducing in the next post.

I can’t make you exercise but if you’ve become that lazy and crazy enough to keep yourself unhealthy there’s nothing I can say that will change that but please keep an open mind!

7 1/2 to 8 Hours A Night Of Quality Sleep

Sleep is very important and if the quality of your sleep suffers so do you during the daytime hours. We go through different stages of sleep during the night. There are simple things you can do to make sure you get enough of all 3.

If you’re a maniac like me you may want to track your sleep scientifically. There are many kinds of trackers for sale from rings to bands that track sleep in detail and more. I use a Charge 2, Fitbit and will have the new Oura Ring in April. (I provided links to sales of both products with specs if you’re interested.)

You don’t need a tracker to get the best nights sleep. I’d like you to read my post about sleep below. It has tips for a better nights sleep, scientific information on sleep, and I guarantee it will have something to help you get started on your way to a quality night’s sleep. Soon you’ll feel the difference.

More About Sleep Read Sleep 101

I’ll cover more about sleep soon.  You can start practicing good sleep hygiene today.

Here are 10 tips to quick-start your weightloss:

  1. Eat a high-protein breakfast. Eating a high-protein breakfast has been shown to reduce cravings and calorie intake throughout the day. Oatmeal with fruit is great. Breakfast should never be avoided and is the most important meal of the day.
  2. Avoid sugary drinks and fruit juice. These are the most fattening things you can put into your body, and avoiding them can help you lose weight.
  3. Drink water a half hour before meals. One study showed that drinking water a half hour before meals increased weight loss. Drink 8 glasses or more.
  4. Choose weight loss-friendly foods (see list). Certain foods are very useful for losing fat. Walnuts and pears are my gotos.
  5. Eat soluble fiber. Studies show that soluble fibers may reduce fat, especially in the belly area.
  6. Drink coffee or tea. If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, then drink as much as you want as the caffeine in them can boost your metabolism. However, no caffeine after 3 pm as it might interfere with sleep.
  7. Eat mostly whole, unprocessed foods. Base most of your diet on whole foods. They are healthier, more filling and much less likely to cause overeating.
  8. Eat your food slowly. Fast eaters gain more weight over time. Eating slowly makes you feel more full and boosts weight-reducing hormones.
  9. Use smaller plates. Studies show that people automatically eat less when they use smaller plates. Strange, but it works.
  10. Get a good night’s sleep, every night. Poor sleep is one of the strongest risk factors for weight gain, so taking care of your sleep is important.

Eating healthy starts here.

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My next post will give you the links to the applications that we’ll be using and no worries it will be a piece of cake whether you have Android or iPhone.

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Get your vitamin’s here! Eat all of the colors of the rainbow and fill your plate 2/3rds full of veggies.

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A clever way to eyeball your food portions. Watch yours!

I think this is a good start my aim was to outline things and get us started in a good direction. Food was our main goal and soon we’ll be logging our meals with the application doing all of the calorie watching for us.

Next-Lazy, Fat and Crazy Lifestyle Change-Logging Your Food and More

Merry Christmas!

It’s Christmas Eve and most of us are not thinking of biking at this time of year. Never mind the snow and cold covering most of the country right now, this is Christmas. Here are some ways to get through it with the greatest of ease.

That said, how can we survive the holidays this year?

  • Relax, you’ve earned a rest.

You’ve been cycling more than ever this year, so why not put the bike away and have some time off? Your legs and family might thank you for it. Your body can use the break while mentally you can reflect on your past year. Sharing memories at this time is year makes us happy. What things did you learn in 2018 that might help you in the new year? It’s a good time to plan some resolutions, challenges, rides or sportives that you want to do next year.

  • Enjoy the holiday treats but don’t go crazy.

Christmas can be challenging for the waistline, with plentiful food and temptations wherever you turn. It’s so easy to overindulge at Christmas you can easily put on a couple of pounds and if you go crazy it’s going to take a lot of cycling to burn off the calories in the New Year. Limit the damage by making smarter food choices, watching your portions and staying away from alcohol. Remember that moderation is the word to bear in mind over the holiday season. You’ll thank yourself this spring if you don’t overdo it.

  • Have a cycling challenge or ride during Christmas.

Many cyclists look forward to Christmas as the holiday can provide some time off meaning extra riding time. If you find yourself with extra time on your hands why not set yourself a riding challenge over Christmas? Ride with others or alone breaking personal challenges. There are loads already available that you can join or maybe that Fitbit (or wearable tracker) has some goals to break? The more cyclists involved the merrier.

  • Get on the indoor trainer or take a spin class.

The weather isn’t typically great at this time of year (depending on where you live) if you are determined to keep cycling through Christmas, don’t discount the value of a trainer (a device you put your bike into, to ride it indoors) or spin classes. Instead of trying to replicate a long steady ride on the trainers do a short interval session. Instead of duration, aim for a high-intensity session. Spin classes usually offer fun holiday theme rides this time of the year. They are flexible and the workouts can be on and off the bikes. This is wonderful if you can’t get outside to ride.

  • Be flexible with your riding time.

With parties, social gatherings, family events and work commitments over Christmas, it can be tricky to stick to your regular riding schedule and many people might give up trying to get out on the bike altogether. Change your morning ride to afternoon if you must, be willing to change your rides around Christmas plans you’ll still find the time. Flexibility is key, use what available time you do have to get a ride in. Don’t worry that you can’t do your regular ride just do the best you can.

  • Try something else to keep moving, get everyone involved.

If you really don’t have time to ride your bike due to social commitments, try taking a walk. Long country walks are popular at this time of year and a brisk walk is a really good exercise. Walking keeps you active and provides some fresh air and sunshine. Go for a run if you can. Even a 20 minute run around the block will get you breaking into a sweat and burn a load of calories. Grab some friends or family to go with you and make it a group affair. Dancing is another great way to burn calories while socializing. Sitting in front of screens is bad for us it’s the new smoking so let’s keep moving.

  • Grab a read.

If you can’t fit a bike ride in, why not pick up a book instead? With all the downtime at Christmas, it’s an ideal time to get around to reading that book you’ve waited to read or learn something new. I like to read about bicycling and nothing helps the winter biking blues like reading a good book or looking at my favorite bicycle magazines. Get the real thing, it’s still nice to hold and look at a real magazine. Brush up on your biking skills and more by checking in with your favorite websites like Bike With Bekkie.

  • Give in and get into it

Socialize, smile and laugh, enjoy the in-your-face moments with family and friends. Time spent like this is really healthy for us relieving hormones in the bloodstream that cause stress. Even those office parties can be fun just don’t over-do it or drink too much. Use cell phones for pictures only put them away at the party or restaurant. No matter how you celebrate the holiday season or what your beliefs are we need to step back, slow down, learn from our mistakes, rejuvenate, and heal so we can face 2018 the best that we can be and in good health no matter what age. We have a lot to deal with next year.

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Look at what my Tshirt says! My site’s motto.

It’s been 2 days since I’ve been biking. I should have gone Saturday but didn’t because my roommate is here and I wanted him to go with me (he often does.) I should have gone today but it’s cloudy which is no reason not to go. I’m being lazy after he turned me down today I didn’t want to go alone and that’s unlike me. It is Christmas Eve.

It doesn’t keep me from making cool stuff digitally (as you can see from this post) but I’m not burning mad calories biking every other day right now. This is becoming an unplanned break that I think I needed. Without getting into “readiness scores” mine has been low for a few weeks. My RHR’s higher than my normal average and my sleep stages have changed. Subtle hints to take it easy for a day or so.

Since the late 90’s I’ve spent holidays alone or with my roommate (who has no family) but that doesn’t mean I don’t participate. Some years I cook a huge meal for 2 but I don’t decorate or have a tree anymore which I miss very much. I know I get stressed out at this time of year and try to keep moving even if I stray from my cycling schedule.

To remind you, I bike 20-30 miles every other day and on Feb. 20th, 2018 I’ll be doing this for 2 years. I’m 63 and not in training but I push myself some days and do splits trying to rank on MapMyRide. Every workout has been logged and my maps/stats are available on the MapMyRide website. I wear a Fitbit Charge 2 and just bought the newest version of the Aura Ring (available in April 2018.) I’m a big believer in body sensors and health monitoring. I’m in it to win it!

Me taking time off from my daily bike rides doesn’t happen often. At the most, I do a week every 4 months or longer when I go stay in Oakland. As I write this I plan to bike on Christmas. I don’t want to take too many days off just enough to bring my RHR down a few beats and keep an eye on my deep sleep.

My roommate finally said he’d ride with me on his mountain bike! I’m so happy it’s my Christmas wish come true. I really enjoy riding with James we are well matched to ride together I let him lead the way and I follow. We always have fun he’s such a goof.

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James (my roommate for many years) and I biking last month.

I’m sipping eggnog without dark rum which is unthinkable (but has to be done) and thinking about riding tomorrow. I know the regulars will be out and about like me, at least a few of them. I only wish I had an ugly Christmas sweater or festive decorations for my bicycle but I don’t. Maybe I can hunt something up before my Christmas ride. A Christmas ride just seems right I can’t wait and it’s supposed to be sunny I’m already excited.

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I wanted to leave you with Ninja and her ugly Christmas sweater.

Tonight it’s Christmas Eve so Merry Christmas readers! Together we’ll see what 2018 and Trump’s tax plan brings to the world. (A little levity never hurt.)

'Dear Santa, if you leave a new bike under the tree, I will give you the antidote to the poison I put in the milk.  Timmy.'

Cookies for Santa. Afterwards:

4.Pot-Cookie

Merry Christmas and happy biking!