December 21st, 2012
Let's face it - most of us have made New Year's Resolutions that we break about a week later. Last year, though, I made what is probably the most common one: lose weight/get healthy.
The difference is: I KEPT it! Rather easily, I might add. I dropped 25 pounds and 4 inches from my waist in about four months. A year later, it's still gone.
How? Using a free app from the iTunes store (and yoga, but that's another post).
MyFitnessPal is a great, free tool for anyone wanting to lose weight. You simply plug in your personal information (height, weight, activity level) and the app calculates your daily caloric needs. Then, you set your weight loss goals (by WEEK!) - I initially set it to lose a pound a week, which is a goal that is healthy and keeps you from losing muscle mass and setting yourself back from an overall health and fitness standpoint.
There are two exceedingly cool features that make this app easy to use and, more importantly, easy to KEEP using - key to any sustained weight loss program. One is it's enormous database of foods. Italian Wedding soup from Au Bon Pain? It's in there. Chik-fil-A nuggets? In there. Your home-made turkey sandwich? Chances are, someone else who uses the program has made one that is similar to the one you're eating, and it's in there, too. The other cool feature is a bar-code scanner that uses your phone's camera. Instead of manually entering foods - whether it's an apple, a slice of bread for your sandwich, or a PowerBar for a pre-workout snack - the app can scan the barcode off the label and store that in your nutritional log. It's simple, and it makes it easy to track everything you eat. It also stores nutritional information so you can see whether you're deficient in any major nutritional category (fat, protein, carbs) or vitamin/minerals. I found that I needed a daily multivitamin initially, until I was able to tweak my diet to get what I needed without it.
After using the app and losing the weight I wanted, I set the program to maintainence (losing no weight) for a week or two to get the feel for what I could eat to be "calorie neutral". Afterwards, I pretty much stopped using it altogether.
Many times, people come to my office looking for a tummy tuck to "trim up". Unfortunately, plastic surgery is not a substitute for weight loss. I recommend to my patients (and potential patients) that they be close to their ideal body weight before spending the time and money to undergo body contouring, and have recommended the MyFitnessPal app to quite a few. The results from plastic surgery are better and longer-lasting, the complications are fewer and typically minor, and both they and I are happier than if we "cheat" a bit.
However, if you think you may need more help than an iPhone app can manage, The Davis Clinic here in Knoxville has both surgical and non-surgical weight-loss programs that are fantastic.
May your New Year be a blessed one, and one that is filled with contentment and good health!