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Monday, July 30, 2012

Eating Better, Pedometers and the all amazing FitDesk

So, in case you haven't noticed yet, I've been trying to eat better.  And by better I just mean that I'm not stuffing myself until I'm so full that I need to take a nap to recover from the amount of food I've consumed.  (Although I still can't help myself when it comes to Indian food - I absolutely must always eat the entire garlic naan, it's too good to waste.)  Anyway, the point is I'm eating proportionally-ish, so I've been using a food diary, MyFitnessPal.  

I'm not trying to lose weight per-sey, but I could definitely stand to fit into some of my clothes that are becoming a bit snug.  I bring this up because I looked at a couple of different options when it came to recording my daily intake of food.  I tried out the WeightWatchers app, but to be honest I found it rather confusing and not very user friendly.  A points system doesn't make sense to me, especially when I cook at home a lot and need to add my own recipes.  I also checked out the food diary on my FitBit (more on the actual FitBit later).  The FitBit has a nice selection of foods, but doesn't quite have everything I need.  I've found that MyFitnessPal is easy to use on both my iPhone and in a browser, has a large database of food, and has an easy to add food item option.  Not to mention I can store and save my recipes which is super handy.  You can also use the app offline, and it'll sync everything the next time you have an internet connection.  I'm currently using the "lose a pound a week" option on MyFitnessPal, but you can use it to maintain or to watch your intake of carbs, fats, etc.  I'm mostly using it to stay within a normal calorie range.

To go with MyFitnessPal I purchased a nice little food scale.  It's just little and only measures up to about 12 pounds.  It's got multiple measurement options, and is about the size of small plate.  It's battery operated, and super easy to use.  I've been measuring out my healthy snacks, and all my recipes ingredients.  Having the food scale has also shown me what supposedly normal portions look like - I don't know about you but this has always been a mystery for me.  I've read that your fist is roughly the size of what you'd want as far as meat/poultry goes, but everyone has different sized fists, what if mine are abnormally large or small?  I bought the Ozeri Pro Digital Scale on Amazon.

And finally, I have a FitBit. It's a little pedometer thing that tracks your steps, distance, stairs you've walked and the calories you've burnt.  There's also this "active" number but to be honest I'm not really sure what that is and I don't use it for anything.  I did some research and while the FitBit is not 100% accurate it gives me a good idea of how active I've been.  It unfortunately does not track bike riding, but there is a handy little timer on it so you can record how long you performed and activity and then add it later.  Both the iPhone app and the online system work great.  There's a number of activities already in the database so I can easily ride my stationary bike for an hour and plug in my activity.  AND the FitBit syncs with MyFitnessPal which is awesome because it'll let me know if I've burned extra calories so I can eat more! (Or not, but typically I go ahead and eat more.)  The FitBit comes with a usb dock that you hook up to your laptop and every time you're within about 10ft it will automatically sync, you can also use the little dock to charge your FitBit.  In my experience the FitBit can go for about 5 to 6 days with out being charged.  

Lastly, Bob bought me an awesome stationary bike.  It's called the FitDesk.  And as ridiculous as it sounds and looks, it's pretty awesome. I've used my laptop while riding a couple of times, but really it's just a nice quiet stationary bike.  I have used the desk bit to hold my knitting while I work on it.  It's easy to wheel around in the house and folds up flat.  I will sometimes move the FitDesk out to the back porch and look out at the city while I enjoy a little ride.  Before you say anything, yes, I know I could just ride my bike, but (and honestly I'm a total wuss about this) there are hills everywhere!  I love riding my bike, but just thinking about having to go home up the gigantic hill in front of my house makes me want to take a nap.  The FitDesk is great because I can ride it any time, day or night, and it has an adjustable pressure gauge to make me work harder.  The distance counter that came with it doesn't work, but I haven't tried to fix it because really as long as I'm using the FitDesk I feel like I'm doing pretty good.  (You can check out an awesome video of my sister showing off the FitDesk here.)

There you have it, it's not a huge step towards living a healthy life, but it's something.

If anyone is wondering, I kicked off my health extravaganza with a lovely bout of food poisoning.  On our last night in Moscow Bob and I ate at the Hotel National on Red Square and the next morning was wretched.  We were sick for a week and I lost 7 pounds.  I figured it was a good way to kick-start me being in better shape and eating like a normal person.  It also helped that some of my pants fit me better. 


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