I’ve had a request [!] to cover some subject matter on this website! What a wonderful thing to happen. I’m quite excited to use this opportunity to pass on information that might influence others. Mind you, I guess the point of some of my communications is to persuade readers to think and to challenge their current thought patterns.
Since December 2011 I have been recording everything I eat. I did this originally to help me lose mass. I do it now to maintain my mass. I think I have a curious relationship with food, although it’s probably not much different to anyone else’s. Over the last twenty five years or so my mass has varied from around 80Kg to 95Kg. Long gone are the active days of my teenage years where I didn’t have to think about these things. I can still remember going gliding with the Air Cadets at RAF Wethersfield and being asked my mass in pounds, it was 140lbs. I don’t think I could physically get that low any more.
During the first half of 2012 I actively tried to lose mass. The process of this will be covered in another communication. To help this process of losing body mass I logged my food using an iPhone app. This is good for a few reasons. Firstly, you get to learn and understand the calorific values of the foods you eat. Secondly, you realise that it’s extremely easy to over eat. Lastly, you start to see the body as an incredibly efficient food-to-energy machine. It shouldn’t really be a surprise but the amount of food needed to sustain the body is not really that much in comparison to the amount we expect to eat. There is a big social problem in that large portions are acceptable and that people can’t add up. When you learn that walking or running 1600 metres will burn around 160 calories [just under two slices of plain bread] you realise that it’s a lot of effort to lose half a kilo of fat!
I use MyFitnessPal to record my food intake and, early on during my mass loss programme, I used this to record my activity and exercise too.
Food can be scanned and the nutritional details are entered automatically. It’s a very handy way to keep track of what you eat. Sometimes you have to guess, especially if you eat out, but over time you get a good idea of how much energy is in the food. I will be a bit more specific in another communication.
To track my exercise I use an app called MapMyRun. It tracks the route that I run and then also converts the information it receives to calculate my energy burn. This app can be used for cycling, walking or logging any activity.
I have spent quite a while looking up energy burn and calibrating the data I get from the app. I have looked at academic papers about energy use and also looked at information from Australian sports institutes. In very basic terms, if you walk or run 10m you use 1 kCal. I think the apps I use are accurate to a sensible level of accuracy. If there are errors it could be within a 200kCal range and it wouldn’t really affect the outcome. Just by being more aware of energy intake and output you learn to self regulate a bit.
I like the apps I used to log my life as they synchronise with my Up software. This means that all the information I enter cross-pollinates and everything adds up nicely! It saves having to enter lots of data into different apps.
Yes, I do know that I used the term MASS throughout this communication and I am aware that I was actually referring to what most people would call WEIGHT. The problem is that I’ve not been measuring my weight for a few years, if I had the units would be in Newtons. If I use the units of KG then I must be measuring MASS. If you don’t like the use of this term then I suggest you don’t read any more of these communications.