Worth the weight – MyFitnessPal

Being tall generally means you fall into the category of ‘being a big bloke’ and being a big bloke generally elicits rashly formulated notions from folk:

‘You must sleep with your feet in a growbag!’ (please, my sides are splitting).

‘I bet you can handle yourself.’

‘We must have you in the rugby team’ (second row of course).

‘I bet you like a pint or ten’.

‘Come on, have another helping… you’ll waste away otherwise.’

My Fitness Pal ScreengrabI’ll admit that I’ve fallen foul of the latter two over the years. I used to be 17 ½ stone and being tall meant I could ‘carry’ that weight to an extent. I didn’t feel obese, as such, and folk generally didn’t think I was.

I was exercising, too, so I felt that I needed the fuel to move my bulk. I’d keep on having second portions at my parents or in-laws because I felt I needed it. Bit of vicious circle, then.

Fast forward a few years and one back op later, and it became clear that I really didn’t need all that food. Although I’ve lost quite a bit of weight since those (halcyon?) ‘Freddie Flintoff days’, it’s only now that I am really doing something about it.

My approach is founded in common sense: only eat what you need. However, discipline is key and that’s where my mobile phone has played a role in the form of the app MyFitnessPal (on Apple and Android).

The real pain of calorie counting is tracking your intake on the go. MyFitnessPal is based on a crowd-sourced database, which is pretty comprehensive. After calculating a daily calorie consumption target based on height, weight, age, base activity level etc, you go through each day logging your consumption against the running total. Simple.

The app accounts for your exercise too which, in turn, increases your calorie count for the day. Sadly, it doesn’t give calorie reading for my weights based core-strengthening programme and other non-cardiovascular activity.

Of course, all this is, at best, an estimate. It’s not as scientific as it could be, but it works.

Since starting this routine in November, I have lost 6.3kg, which is 13.9 lbs in old money. I am now 93.7kg, still 3.7kg off my goal weight. This roughly translates to losing one pound a week, which is how I have set the system up.

My goal of 90kg is driven by improving my power-to-weight ratio on the bike and, hopefully, boost my stamina in the hills on foot. I’m approaching that age when shedding pounds is going to get increasingly difficult so ‘I’m getting ahead of the eight ball’… whatever that means.

I already feel better in body and in mind. Shedding the weight has to be good for my back, too.

MyFitnessPal is one of many apps out there to help you diet. I’m sure it’s not the best, but it’s free and has certainly helped me maintain focus on the task in hand.

Be warned, though. If you feel the need to go this route, you run the risk of becoming a calorie bore. Fortunately, my other half is also having great success with this approach and we happily bore one another.

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