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Trying to lose weight, the Internet way

I wanted to write a column about an app I was using to, hopefully, lose a bit of weight.

I was going to say that I'm young enough that many people still make the (usually correct) assumption that I can fix their google for them, but I am no longer young enough to make as many visits to the Pizza Hut lunch buffet as I would like.

Zach White

When looking for a way to preserve my orangutan-like figure, I decided to ask my best friend for advice and the Internet said I should check out MyFitnessPal.com.

When you make an account, you enter information like your height and weight then set a goal, and they tell you your recommended daily nutritional requirements.

For more than a week now I have used the iPhone app for the website to track what I eat and pay attention to nutrition, a past-time I never knew existed.

The cool thing about the app is that it can use the phone's camera to scan the barcode on any food item you have.

If you don't have a barcode, there is a massive database of foods you can search to find exactly what you've eaten.

It's surprisingly comprehensive. At lunch last week, I searched for Subway 6-inch subs and actually found the exact bread, meat, cheese and topping combo I had ordered.

And if you have no luck with the search feature or are cooking on your own, you can build your own recipes from searchable ingredients, add the number of servings, and find out the nutritional information for that meal.

In the past week I only went over my daily calorie limit on the first day, when I had already eaten fast food twice by the time I started logging in the afternoon. Cherry coke with your breakfast is, as I learned, not good for you.

The desire to avoid the red numbers that show when you go over your daily calorie limit becomes a subtle portion control, without having to use the words "portion control." Rather than think "I must not let myself have this food I want," you think "I can stay under my limit if I don't eat this, which means I win, which is the most important thing."

It's worked well. I feel less gross. And that's why I wanted to write about it.

But then I saw a Verizon Wireless ad that featured the app with several others that help with working out, swimming, yoga and more, with a whole subplot about a dad preparing for his daughter's wedding. "I'm so proud of you," she says to her recently slimmed-down and phone-savvy dad.

All I'm doing is complaining about getting over my fried cheese product addiction, so nevermind.

(Zach White is a reporter with the Havre Daily News.)
 

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