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I Have Fewer Chins Than I Used To

So I’ve managed to lose about 30 pounds in three months.  Keeping the weight off has been increasingly a problem as I get older.  It doesn’t help that I’m a CPA by profession, a rather sedentary job which lends itself to a certain portliness.  I also got married not too long ago, and I discovered that the first few years of marriage are like the first few years of college.  Meaning, you put on some serious poundage. Except that unlike in college, the weight increase is from eating too much, not drinking too much.  In marriage, the heavy drinking doesn’t start until you’re about five years in.

The weight gain also resulted in other complications, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol and acid reflux and sleep apnea.  There are ways to treat these, but it’s better just to lose some weight and not have to bother. But the big kicker for me was being told I was pre-diabetic.  Type 2 diabetes runs in my family. I want to delay that, so that’s why I’m losing weight.

I’ve finally found something that gets results.  No fancy gimmicks or supplements or diet programs.  A friend of mine turned me on to an app called Cronometer.  He’s also in a rather sedentary profession (insurance sales and financial planning), so he had many of the same troubles I do.  He told me he’d lost 40 pounds over the course of four months. And not long after I had a rather scary doctor’s appointment with some worrying results, so I thought I would give it a try.

There are no tricks to it.  You put in your weight, height, and activity level, and a few other things then you just keep track of what you eat and how much you exercise.  The app tells you if your calories burned on any given day are more or less than what you ate. If you burn 500 more than you eat each day, you lose a pound a week.  If you burn 1000 more than you eat each day, you lose two pounds a week. Since I’m an accountant for a living, this sort of approach suits me, since it’s not all that different from totalling up receipts.  But I think anyone could use this. It only takes maybe five minutes after each meal to record your food.

It also lets you track the various nutrients so you can assess if you’re getting a balanced diet.  You can also keep track of your sodium and cholesterol, which helps if you’re trying to get your blood pressure and cholesterol down.  

I’m surprised at just how much is already in their database.  Almost any brand of store bought food is there. And oftentimes you can enter it by scanning the barcode with your phone.  And if you prepare a home cooked meal, you can create your own recipe to keep track of the calories.

I also discovered quite early that this doesn’t work if you don’t add some exercise.  And the app allows you to track that too.  It has every imaginable type of exercise, from jogging to gym workouts to housework and yardwork.  There’s even an entry for, uh, marital procreative activities.

After a few days of tracking the food I ate and my exercise, I was able to identify what I was doing wrong.  The app let me look at the details of where my calories, cholesterol, and various nutrients were coming from.  In the accounting world, this is called drilling down. Seeing the relationship between my diet and the calories and nutrients I was taking in allowed me to identify bad habits I had and identify the good habits I needed to adopt.  

And I was gratified to note that it didn’t require major changes.  I didn’t have to adopt a diet named after a doctor or a geographic area or a geological period or whatever.  I didn’t have to completely alter my life or give up things that I loved. I just needed to add a little discipline and moderation.

So, I’ll be making occasional blog posts and YouTube videos detailing some of the things I’ve discovered: bad habits I eliminated, good habits I adopted, challenges I’ve had adapting my regimen to my work and life schedule and some of the things I’ve learned about health, fitness and nutrition..  Hopefully what I find will be of some value to anyone who wants to lose weight and has been struggling to figure out how.

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Published by drilldowndiet

Formerly obese CPA/health humorist using Cronometer and FitBod to lose weight. Sharing assorted life hacks to squeeze nutrition and exercise into a busy schedule. Also on Twitter at @drilldowndiet and Facebook.

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