It seems rather anti-climactic to be on a diet in January – isn’t everyone on a diet right now? It would seem more noteworthy to write about not being on a diet in January. So avant-garde.
I was on a diet this time last year too, except a year ago I really didn’t know how to make it work. I’d tried a few diets before, most notably the South Beach Diet, which didn’t work for me. I know South Beach worked wonders for some of my friends, but I learned that exclusion diets are not my bag. Tell me I can’t have a carb-loaded biscuit, and suddenly all I’ve ever wanted in my life is a biscuit. I thought of biscuits and wanted to cry. I was depressed and grumpy – just ask Lee. He learned to fear the word “diet,” because it was synonymous with angry wife.
But last year I discovered an iphone app called Lose It. It’s not a diet fad – it’s good old fashioned calorie counting. Put in your weight, how much you want to lose and in what time period, and it calculates your daily caloric allowance. Use the app to log your calories for the day (comes pre-loaded with lots of nutritional data so you don’t have to figure out the calories for yourself, just look it up). If you exercise, you log that as well and your calorie allowance for the day increases.
Using the app really taught me a lot about the food I was eating and how to make better choices. I was motivated to exercise more because I could see the direct relationship between using the elliptical at the gym and being able to eat that biscuit for breakfast guilt-free. No food is off limits – you just have to make it work into your daily allowance. And if you screw up a day (hello, Mexican food every Tuesday), the app also tracks calories for the whole week, so you can make it up the next day.
I lost more weight with that app than any other diet I’d ever tried, and I think my attitude was much better (right, Lee?).
I admit I fell off the bandwagon thanks to a few vacations and the holidays, but at least now that it’s January I know what to do to get back on track.
Two other unexpected diet helpers I’ve discovered…
Pandora Radio – I find that if I program some loud, obnoxious club music I feel more motivated on the elliptical at the gym. And when my energy starts to wane, I crank it up a little louder and I swear it helps.
Celebrity Gossip Magazines – I’m almost embarrassed about this one. No, I am embarrassed. I’m not a celebrity follower and cannot usually tell you which actor was in what film. I especially can’t tell you who cheated on whom and who is the baby’s daddy. But I need a magazine to flip through on the elliptical – something mindless. The added benefit of a celebrity magazine – all those scantily clad bodies. Not that I think I’m ever going to be in Hollywood shape, but I also realize most of those women don’t get those bodies without work. If I want a better body, I have to work for it.